Mary Berry has said her new home-cooking competition on the BBC is a welcome return to the food she loves after seven series of the Great British Bake Off.
The TV cook is one of a panel of three judges on Britain’s Best Home Cook, which she said was a “refreshing” change and “totally different” from Bake Off.
Berry is returning to BBC One for the show’s first episode on Thursday night to officiate in an eight-week competition, presented by Claudia Winkleman, where 10 family chefs pit their skills against each other in a bid to win the accolade of Britain’s best home cook.
In 2016 the 83-year-old opted to leave Bake Off after it moved to Channel 4 and she suggested Home Cooking may appeal to a similar audience.
Asked how her new co-judges Dan Doherty and Chris Bavin sized up to Paul Hollywood, Berry said: “It was quite different. I’ve spent seven programmes on Great British Bake Off and so it was very refreshing to have two.
“I couldn’t have chosen two more knowledgeable people in their field.”
She added: “I can’t tell you how excited I was because I’ve always done real home cooking.
“I had a very happy time on the Great British Bake Off but I was always dying to get back to proper, real family cooking, so that’s where I am now.”
She said Bake Off had become “quite complicated” as it required specific equipment for icing, flavouring and colouring whereas home cooking was “proper people that cook for families”.
Berry added: “Home cooking is totally, totally different and I think it will appeal to different people but maybe the same people that are watching Bake Off because after all we’ve got to eat some wonderful family meals.
“I think it’ll stand out well on its own.”
Asked if she thought the show would encourage more families to sit down and eat together and potentially help with the obesity crisis, Berry said: “I couldn’t agree with you more.
“The more families sit down and don’t have food on the hoof, sit down on Sundays or even one night a week, it’s the time I get with my family, particularly my own children and grandchildren … they get talking once … also it teaches them new foods, and it’s the social side of it.
“It’s an important part of life that we mustn’t lose.”
On obesity, she added: “A little bit of everything. It’s overeating most of the time and we’ve got to try and get people not to have a second slice of cake.”