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Nigel Slater

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Nigel Slater
Nigel Slater

(1956-04-09) 9 April 1956 (age 65)[1]
Occupationfood writer, journalist, author, TV broadcaster

Nigel Slater OBE (born 9 April 1956)[2][3][4] is an English food writer, journalist and broadcaster.[5] He has written a column for The Observer Magazine for over a decade and is the principal writer for the Observer Food Monthly supplement. Prior to this, Slater was food writer for Marie Claire for five years. He also serves as art director for his books.

Early life[edit]

Food is, for me, for everybody, a very sexual thing and I think I realised that quite early on. I still cannot exaggerate how just putting a meal in front of somebody is really more of a buzz for me than anything. And I mean anything. Maybe that goes back to trying to please my dad, I don't know. It's like parenting in a way I suppose.

Nigel Slater, The Guardian[6]

Nigel Slater was born on 9 April 1956,[7] in Wolverhampton, then in Staffordshire. He was the youngest of three sons born to factory owner Cyril "Tony" Slater and housewife Kathleen Slater (née Galleymore). His mother died of asthma in 1965.[8] In 1971, his father re-married to Dorothy Perrens, dying in 1973.[9]

Slater attended Woodfield Avenue School in Penn, Staffordshire. He moved to Worcestershire as a teenager and attended Chantry High School where he enjoyed writing essays and was one of only two boys to take cookery as an O-Level subject.[10][11]

Slater claims in his autobiography that he used food to compete with his stepmother for his father's attention.[12] Their biggest battle was over lemon meringue pie – his father's favourite. She refused to divulge her recipe, so Slater resorted to subterfuge to turn out his own version. "I'd count the egg-shells in the bin, to see how many eggs she'd used and write them down. I'd come in at different times, when I knew she was making it. I'd just catch her when she was doing some meringue, building up that recipe slowly over a matter of months, if not years."[12]

Slater gained an OND in catering at Worcester Technical College in 1976, and worked in restaurants and hotels across the UK before becoming a food writer for Marie Claire magazine in 1988.[11] He became known for uncomplicated, comfort food recipes which he presented in early books such as The 30-Minute Cook (1994) and Real Cooking, as well as his memoir-like columns for The Observer which he began in 1993.

Television and radio[edit]

In 1998, Slater hosted the Channel 4 series Nigel Slater's Real Food Show. He returned to TV in 2006 to host the chat/food show A Taste of My Life for BBC One and BBC Two.[13] In 2009, he presented the six-part series Simple Suppers on BBC One,[14] and a second series the following year.[15]

He appeared as a guest castaway on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in June 2005.[16]

In November 2013 he appeared alongside farmer Adam Henson on BBC's 'Nigel and Adam's Farm Kitchen', which was set on a working farm in the Cotswolds and covered various aspects of food production and preparation.[17]


Slater's book, Eating for England: The Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table (Fourth Estate), is devoted to British food and cookery. It was published in October 2007 and was described in The Sunday Times as "the sort of ragbag of choice culinary morsels that would pass the time nicely on a train journey".[18] His book Tender is the story of his vegetable garden, how it came to be, and what grows in it. The book was published in two volumes; the first is on vegetables, which was released late in 2009 and the second is on fruit, which was released in 2010. Tender is described as a memoir, a study of fifty of our favourite vegetables, fruits and nuts and a collection of over five hundred recipes.

Slater became known to a wider audience with the publication of Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger, a moving and award-winning autobiography focused on his love of food, his childhood, his family relationships (his mother died of asthma when he was nine) and his burgeoning homosexuality.[19] Slater has called it "the most intimate memoir that any food person has ever written".[20] Toast was published in Britain in October 2004[21] and became a best-seller after it was featured on the Richard & Judy Book Club.[22]

As he told The Observer, "The last bit of the book is very foody. But that is how it was. Towards the end I finally get rid of these two people in my life I did not like [his father and stepmother, who had been the family's cleaning lady]—and to be honest I was really very jubilant—and thereafter all I wanted to do was cook."[citation needed]


Slater's autobiographical work was adapted into 2010's Toast, starring Freddie Highmore as the 15-year-old Slater and Helena Bonham Carter as his stepmother. It has been broadcast on BBC One.[6][23]

In 2018, The Lowry commissioned a stage adaptation of Toast [24] written by Henry Filloux-Bennett[25] and directed by Jonnie Riordan[26]with Sam Newton as Nigel Slater.[27] After a sell-out run at the Week 53 Festival, it was announced that it would transfer to the Traverse Theatre at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[28]

Both productions of the show received rave reviews with critics praising it for its charm [29] and glowing nostalgia.[30]

In 2018, it was announced that Toast would transfer to The Other Palace in London, premiering on April 9, 2019. [31] In March 2019, it was announced that Giles Cooper would play the role of Nigel.[32]

In April 2019, it was announced that the show would embark on a UK National Tour in the autumn.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Slater has two older brothers, Adrian (born 1944)[34] and John. Slater's parents adopted John, a neighbour's child, before Slater was born.[21] He also has two stepsisters, from whom he is estranged.[35]

Slater lives in the Highbury area of north London, where he maintains a kitchen garden which is often featured in his column.

Slater is gay.[36]

Publications and broadcasting[edit]


  • The Marie Claire Cookbook, Hamlyn, (ISBN 0-7064-2573-1, 1992)
  • Real Fast Food, Michael Joseph, (ISBN 0-7181-3577-6, 1992) or Penguin Books, (ISBN 0-14-046949-4, 1993)
  • Real Fast Puddings, Michael Joseph, (ISBN 0-7181-3577-6, 1992) or Penguin Books, (ISBN 0-14-023283-4, 1994)
  • The 30-Minute Cook, Michael Joseph, (ISBN 0-7181-3752-3, 1994)
  • Real Good Food, Fourth Estate (ISBN, 1995)
  • Real Cooking, Michael Joseph, (ISBN 0-7181-4090-7, 1997) or Penguin Books (ISBN 0-14-025277-0, 1999)
  • Real Food, Fourth Estate, (ISBN 1-85702-971-2, 1998) or (ISBN 1-84115-144-0, 2000)
  • Appetite, Random House of Canada, (ISBN 0-679-31212-9, 2000) or Fourth Estate (ISBN 1-84115-470-9, 2000)
  • Thirst, Fourth Estate, (ISBN 1-84115-768-6, 2002)
  • The Kitchen Diaries, Fourth Estate, (ISBN 0-00-719948-1, 2005) or Gotham Books, published by Penguin (USA), (ISBN 1-592-40234-8), October 2006[37][38]
  • Tender, Volume One, Fourth Estate, Harper Collins (ISBN 978-0-00-724849-0) (2009)
  • Tender, Volume Two, Fourth Estate, Harper Collins (2010)
  • The Kitchen Diaries II, Fourth Estate (2012)
  • eat: The Little Book of Fast Food, Fourth Estate (2013)
  • A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III, Fourth Estate (ISBN 978-0-00-753680-1) (2015)
  • The Christmas Chronicles, Fourth Estate (2017)
  • Greenfeast: Spring, Summer, Fourth Estate (ISBN 978-0008333355) (2019)
  • Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter, Fourth Estate (ISBN 978-0008213770) (2019)



  • Nigel Slater’s Real Food Show (1998) – host and presenter
  • A Taste of My Life (2006-2008, 31 episodes) – host and presenter
  • Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers (2009) – writer and presenter
  • Nigel Slater’s Simple Cooking (2011, 8 episodes) – writer and presenter
  • Nigel Slater: Life is Sweets (2012, one-off documentary) – writer and presenter
  • Nigel Slater’s Dish of the Day (2012) – writer and presenter
  • Nigel Slater’s Great British Biscuit (2013, one-off documentary) – writer and presenter
  • Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen (2013) – co-presenter
  • Nigel Slater: Eating Together (2015, 4 episodes) – writer and presenter
  • Nigel Slater's Middle East (2018, 3 episodes) - writer and presenter

Honour and awards[edit]

  • 1995 Glenfiddich Cookery Writer of the Year Award
  • 1995 Glenfiddich Trophy
  • 1995 Glendfiddich Award for Best Visual Work for The Observer
  • 1996 Media Personality of the Year Award (Good Food Awards)
  • 1999 Glenfiddich Award for Best Visual Work for Real Food
  • 1999 Best Newspaper Cookery Journalist Award
  • 2000 André Simon Award for Cookbook of the Year for Appetite
  • 2004 André Simon Award for Toast
  • 2004 Glenfiddich Food Book of the Year forToast
  • 2004 British Biography of the Year Award for Toast
  • 2004 Observer Food Monthly Book of the Year Award for Toast
  • 2004 WH Smith People's Choice Award for "Toast"
  • 2006 British Book Award for The Kitchen Diaries
  • 2007 Specialist Writer of the Year, PPA Awards
  • 2009 Honorary DLitt from the University of Wolverhampton[41]
  • 2009 BBC Food Personality of the Year[42]
  • 2018 Fortnum and Mason's Food Book award for The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, stories & 100 essential recipes for midwinter[43]
  • 2020 Awarded OBE in the New Year Honours for services to cookery and literature[44]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Nigel Slater". Retrieved 14 October 2007.
  4. ^ Slice of nostalgia: the making of Toast The Telegraph, 20 December 2010
  5. ^ "Nigel Slater recipes - BBC Food". Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b Adams, Tim (14 September 2003). "While other boys in his class were reading Shoot! Nigel subscribed to Cordon Bleu magazine". The Observer. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  10. ^ Nigel Slater Archived 4 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine University of Wolverhampton, 2011; Retrieved 6 March 2011
  11. ^ a b I was one of two boys who took cookery O-level at my secondary school Archived 26 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Times Educational Supplement, 10 October 2003; Retrieved 6 March 2011
  12. ^ a b Competitive cooking: Why do we bother? BBC News, 22 December 2010
  13. ^ A Taste of My Life BBC Programmes
  14. ^ Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers recipes BBC – Food
  15. ^ Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers: Series 2 BBC One
  16. ^ Nigel Slater Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 5 June 2005
  17. ^ "BBC One - Nigel and Adam's Farm Kitchen". BBC.
  18. ^ a b Wilson, Bee (7 October 2007). "Dipping into our culinary history". Times Online. Archived from the original on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Interview with Nigel Slater (page 2), 10 January 2005
  21. ^ a b Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger by Nigel Slater Barnes & Noble
  22. ^ Richard & Judy Channel 4 Archived 12 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ New BBC One drama, Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore star in Toast BBC Press Office, 21 May 2010
  24. ^ "Nigel Slater Discusses the Stage Adaptation of Toast". Visit Manchester. 16 May 2018.
  25. ^ "Audiences to be served a taste of Nigel Slater's Toast". 12 November 2017 – via
  26. ^ "Toast | Home | Jonnie Riordan | Director and Movement Director | London". jonnieriordan.
  27. ^ "IndieLondon: Samuel Newton to portray food writer Nigel Slater in Toast - Your London Reviews".
  28. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Nigel Slater's TOAST Announces Edinburgh Fringe Festival Dates At Traverse Theatre".
  29. ^ Love, Catherine (12 August 2018). "Nigel Slater's Toast review – tender adaptation stirs the soul and senses" – via
  30. ^ Smith, Nigel. "Nigel Slater's Toast review at the Lowry, Salford – 'warmth and wit'".
  31. ^ "Nigel Slater's Toast to transfer to The Other Palace in London | WhatsOnStage".
  32. ^ Limited, London Theatre Direct (21 March 2019). "Final casting announced for Nigel Slater's Toast at the Other Palace".
  33. ^ "Nigel Slater's Toast stage show announces UK tour | WhatsOnStage".
  34. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  35. ^ "Katherine Butler: Don't spoil a good story with the truth" 11 January 2011 Independent
  36. ^
  37. ^ The Kitchen Diaries Harper Collins
  38. ^ William Leith Not roquette science – Review: The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater The Guardian, 29 October 2005
  39. ^ Lynne Truss Toast by Nigel Slater and My Autobiography by Antony Worrall Thompson Times Online, 5 October 2003 (subscription required)
  40. ^ Matthew Fort Slater's raw honesty has a delicious flavour – Review: Toast by Nigel Slater The Observer, 19 October 2003
  41. ^ "Honorary Graduates: Previous Years". University of Wolverhampton.
  42. ^ Food & Farming Awards – Winners & Finalists BBC Radio 4, 2009
  43. ^ Onwuemezi, Natasha (11 May 2018). "Hussain and Slater win Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards". The Bookseller. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  44. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N14.

External links[edit]