Baking queen Mary Berry gave a star sprinkle to the ‘wonderful’ Chatsworth Country Fair as she cooked for bumper crowds.
Hundreds of people jammed into a marquee at the fair on Saturday to watch the star of Great British Baking Off whip up some of her favourite dishes - cheering widly as she walked on stage.
The 80-year-old - known for her colourful blazers on the show - wore a purple jacket which she revealed to the audience was her outfit choice for the final episode of the current series.
“I think the fair is a wonderful show”, said Mary shortly before she took to the stage to prepare gravadlax, joking along as areobatic displays provided a noisy background.
“It’s a great family day out and lovely for people to learn about the countryside.”
While the prolific food writer said fans would have to see whether Bakewell Pudding would feature on bake-off, she promisedthere was ‘lots of drama’ still to come in the season.
Sheffield’s Howard Middleton was a contestant in 2013 and is releasing his own gluten-free baking book.
Mary said she hoped more northern bakers would rise to the challenge.
She added: “We love having northern bakers on the show - we love all bakers.
“I think the reason the show is so popular is it is about a great family pastime, it is a teaching show when you think about it. Really there is a bake off on a Wednesday and the next day the whole country is baking.
“It is not too expensive and it’s something to share.”
It was Mary’s third time at the fair, but Masterchef judge John Torode also gave a demonstration this year.
She laughed off a suggestion of competition between the pair, saying: “He is brilliant, and particularly good with cooking meat.”
And the culinary whizz, who signed copies of her new book Mary’s Absolute Favourites at the fair, revealed top ingredients for baking success to beginners.
Mary, who also demonstrated summer ring pavlova and garlic mushroom penne, said: “First of all you’ve got to find good recipes and weigh very carefully - you’ve got to have a passion for it.”
From creamy fudge to spicy paella - the packed food section of the fair was almost a festival in itself. Dozens of stalls, including alfresco afternoon tea stands and a pop up champagne bar, drew in the crowds over the weekend.
Sheffield chef Tom Lawson, of Rafters restaurant in Nether Green, cooked his speciality scallops with apple and fennel for an eager audience. Tom said: “I wanted to show people a couple of dishes which we do in the restaurant but are also simple so you can do them at home.” Meanwhile bake-off fan Fiona Drummond was visiting from Edinburgh with daughter Grace, aged eight. “The bake off brings everyone together”, said Fiona. The spectacular fair also featured the Red Arrows, vintage cars, mounted games and dog racing.