Derek Cooper (journalist)

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Derek Cooper
Born Derek Macdonald Cooper.
(1925-05-25)25 May 1925
Died 19 April 2014(2014-04-19) (aged 88)
Nationality British
Occupation journalist, author, broadcaster
Known for food journalism, broadcasting

Derek Macdonald Cooper (25 May 1925 – 19 April 2014)[1] was a British journalist and broadcaster who wrote about food, wine and whisky.[2]

He was educated at Raynes Park County Grammar School, Portree High School and Wadham College, Oxford, where he read English. After World War II service with the Royal Navy he was with Radio Malaya until 1960. After that he wrote for, among others, The Listener, The Observer, Homes & Gardens and Saga Magazine. He was a founder member, first Chairman and first President of the Guild of Food Writers. He was appointed OBE in 1997[3] and in 1999 he was awarded an Hon. D.Litt. by Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh.

He conceived the idea of BBC Radio 4’s weekly culinary programme The Food Programme,[4] which was first broadcast in 1979. Cooper presented PM on Radio 4, and his voice-over work included items on Tomorrow's World and early editions of World in Action.

In 2001, the year he retired from The Food Programme, he won a Sony Radio Academy Special Award[5] for "his pioneering work as one of the first journalists to take the subject of food seriously".[6]

He was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's disease in 1995. His wife of 57 years, Janet, died in 2010. They had two children: a daughter and a son.[1]


The Derek Cooper Award for Campaigning and Investigative Food Writing or Broadcasting is given out by the Guild of Food Writers.[7]


  1. ^ a b Jaine, Tom; Vaughan, Paul (20 April 2014). "Derek Cooper obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  2. ^ His publications included The Bad Food Guide, The Beverage Report, 1970; Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland, 1978; Wine With Food, 1982; The World Of Cooking, 1985; The Little Book of Malt Whiskies, 1992; and Snail Eggs and Samphire, 2000 > British Library website accessed 14:11 GMT 15 March 2011.
  3. ^ London Gazette.
  4. ^ The Food Programme Website BBC
  5. ^ Sony Awards 2001: The winners BBC
  6. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards 2001
  7. ^ Awards, Guild of Food Writers.

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