The Great British Bake Off is back on our TV tonight as Prue Leith returns as a judge.
Fellow judge Paul Hollywood might have racked up the most headlines over the years with his ever-changing personal life.
But Dame Prue would have given him a run for his money in her heyday.
We’ll get to that, but first a look back on her career.
Who is Prue Leith?
Prue was born in South Africa on February 18, 1940, making her 81 (2021).
She said she was inspired to cook by a woman she worked for as an au pair in France.
She later left France to fulfill her dream of learning to cook at the Cordon Bleu in London.
What’s happened in her career?
Prue is a restaurateur, author of cookery books and celebrity TV chef.
She started her career catering for high-class business lunches.
Prue worked her way up to opening her own restaurant, Leith’s in the late 60s and was later awarded a Michelin star.
During her cooking career, she opened Leith’s School of Food and Wine in 1974 – selling it 20 years later.
It is now known as Leith’s Academy and runs a variety of course for budding chefs.
Having become in such demand as a television chef Prue sold off all her outside food interests in 1995.
Her culinary group was reported to have a turnover of £15million at the time.
What is Prue’s net worth?
Through her businesses, books and television deals Prue is believed to worth upwards of £2million.
And Bake Off is helping her fortune grow.
She took over from Mary Berry when the show moved from BBC to Channel 4 in 2017.
And her deal was reported to be three times more than her good friend Mary.
The veteran telly cook is believed to have signed a deal for £200,000 per series at the time, according to The Sun.
It dwarfs the £70,000 both Mary and Paul reportedly commanded for the show under the BBC.
When was Prue Leith made a Dame?
Prue became Dame Prue Leith in this year’s birthday honours, being named a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE).
She was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2010 for her services to food, broadcasting and charity.
But she’s not as prim and proper as some fans may think.
Did Prue Leith go to an orgy?
Writing in her memoir Relish in 2017, Prue told how she went to sex parties when she lived in Paris.
In Relish, she described one party she went to with a friend called ‘Pierre’.
“One room was carpeted with wall-to-wall copulation, young bottoms going up and down like bouncy castles,” she said.
“It was an organised orgy and we were the only people with any clothes on.”
Her friend Pierre got naked, and Prue realised she would be “less conspicuous” if she did the same.
She said: “I spent the next two hours walking purposefully from room to room.
“I was trying to look as if I had a sexual tryst arranged in the next room or was on my way to the bar or the loo, and avoiding the men patrolling the party.”
Is Prue married and does she have children?
Prue tied the knot with John Playfair in 2016. She was previously married to Rayne Kruger from 1974 to 2002.
Prue has two children – son MP Danny Kruger, 46, and daughter Li-Da Kruger.
The star and former husband Rayne – who died in 2002 – adopted Li-Da in the mid-’70s when she was one.
When is The Great British Bake Off on TV?
Only a short wait now – the new series is on at 8pm this evening on Channel 4.
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