Marguerite Patten ~ One of the Original Celebrity Chefs

Marguerite Patten was born November 4, 1915, in Bath, and grew up in Barnet Hertfordshire.  She took a cookery class after finishing school and became a Home Economist with the North Metropolitan Electric Power Supply Company.  Being drawn to the stage, she left her job and spent some time in the repertory theatre in Oldham.  Next, Mrs. Patten started her career as a Frigidaire cookery demonstrator.

Then when WWII broke out she worked at the Ministry of Food as a senior Food Adviser.  During 1940s very few British kitchens had refrigerators, and during WWII food was rationed.  Not only was it rationed, but there were some foods that were just not available.  It was Marguerite’s job to give advice and put on cooking demonstrations to show people how to live on the food rations and still maintain their family’s health.

Her demonstrations taught people how to make a meal out of powdered eggs and spam, and encouraged people to eat whale meat.  I know what you are thinking, the powdered eggs and spam are bad enough but whale meat?  Yes, it was Mrs. Pattens job to make the meals look tasty and appealing to the family cook.  She even wrote “Spam: The Cookbook”, which contains 60 Spam recipes and is still available online.

She is often referred to as one of the original Celebrity Chefs and became famous during the 1940s.  From 1943 through 1951 Marguerite ran the Ministry of Food Advice Bureau in Harrods. 1943 she began giving out thrifty food tips on the BBC radio program, Kitchen Front.  As her popularity grew she was invited on the very first Designed for Women BBC television show as a cookery expert in 1947 and remained on the show until 1960.

It was in 1951 that Mrs. Patten left the Ministry of Food and started writing cookbooks and became a freelance speaker.  She has had an amazing career which started out as a junior home economist. Then for decades she traveled around Britain speaking and giving cookery demonstrations.  To date she has written 170 cookbooks selling 17 million copies and over 500 million of her cookery cards worldwide.

Some of the awards that Marguerite Patten has received include the Order of the British Empire (OBE) “services to the Art of Cookery” in 1991, the Woman of the Year Award in 2007 and 4 Lifetime Achievement Awards.