Britain can’t get enough of Mary Berry, the warmly authoritative judge who, last year, left The Great British Bakeoff (or The Great British Baking Show in the states) after seven seasons, or series, as they’re called in the UK.
Since her departure from GBBO, a decision she made in order to stay with the BBC as the show moved networks, the British Broadcasting Corporation has kept Berry busy with Mary Berry's Secrets From Britain's Great Houses and Mary Berry Everyday—and now a third Berry-led cooking show.
On Tuesday, the BBC announced that Berry would be the head judge of a new show on BBC One in which Berry will shine a light on the most talented home cooks, with the working title Britain’s Best Cook.
"At a time when British cooking has never been more varied, inspiring or of such high quality, this series will test the real-life expertise of truly great home cooks and will celebrate the food people make for their loved ones every single day," the BBC said in a statement. "Mary Berry is returning to her first love; with more than 75 cookery books to her name, her authority in the home kitchen is beyond question, and she is the natural choice for the lead judge."
The new series will feature 10 contestants capable of showing “skill under pressure and individual flair” as they create “the most perfect version of dishes that define modern British home cooking.” A second judge will be announced at a later date.
"I am never more at home than when I have my judging hat on, Berry said. This series is going to encourage proper home cooking, which I have always championed and I cannot wait to start.”
Berry, whose very name conjures up visions of fruit-topped trifles and fluffy pudding pots, has been a fixture of English food television for decades, but her unimpeachable baking authority, tempered with very British gift for innuendo, made an international sensation when she joined GBBO in 2010. Though there are pages and pages of fans keeping track of her every sentence, she’s probably best known for her keen awareness of “soggy bottoms”—when the bottom of a dessert or pastry isn’t cooked through.
So fair warning to all of Britain’s aspiring amateur cooks: get your bottoms in order before Mary comes to town.