Marguerite Patten

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marguerite Patten
Born Hilda Elsie Marguerite Brown
(1915-11-04) 4 November 1915 (age 99)
Bath, Somerset
Occupation Home economist, food writer and broadcaster
Notable work Everyday Cook Book in Colour (1961)

Hilda Elsie Marguerite Patten, CBE (born 4 November 1915), née Brown, is an English home economist, food writer and broadcaster.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Bath, Somerset, and raised in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Patten was 13 when it fell to her to cook for her mother and younger brother and sister, when her father died and her mother had to return to work as a teacher. After leaving school and taking a cooking course Marguerite was employed as a home economist at the Eastern Electricity Board. She then worked as an actress in repertory theatre for 9 months and for Frigidaire promoting the benefits of the refrigerator as a senior home economist.

Second World War[edit]

During World War II, she worked for the Ministry of Food suggesting nourishing and inventive recipes using the rationed food that was available. She broadcast her ideas and advice to the nation on a BBC radio programme called the Kitchen Front. When the war ended, she demonstrated kitchen appliances for Harrods.


She was one of the earliest TV 'celebrity chefs', presenting her first television cookery programme on the BBC in 1947. In 1961, at a time when cookery books were essentially black and white affairs, her publisher Paul Hamlyn produced a glossy, colourful book that proved highly influential. The 'Everyday Cook Book in Colour' had sold in excess of one million copies by 1969.[1] She has since sold 17 million copies of her 170 books, and continues to contribute to TV and radio food programmes into her late nineties.

Her approach to cookery instruction included teaching essential knowledge and skills needed in the kitchen. Her advice and books were instrumental in improving the quality of British cookery in the post-war years, when rationing meant that more exotic dishes were impossible to prepare.

She has been an influence on other well-known cooks such as Nigel Slater.[2]


She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1991 for "services to the Art of Cookery"[3] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[4][5] In 2007, she received the Woman of the Year award, Lifetime Achievement Award.[6]


  1. ^ Patten, Marguerite (1969). Everyday Cook Book in Colour. Hamlyn Books. 
  2. ^ Slater, Nigel (2003). Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger. Fourth Estate Ltd. ISBN 1-84115-289-7. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52563. p. 11. 14 June 1991.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59446. p. 8. 12 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Food gurus Marguerite Patten and Prue Leith honoured". BBC News. 12 June 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Previous winners". Woman of the Year. 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 

External links[edit]