Entertainment & Arts

Bake Off's Mary Berry criticised by MasterChef judge over fryers

Mary Berry and Greg Wallace Image copyright PA

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace has criticised Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry over her suggestion that no family should own a deep-fat fryer.

Writing in the Sun, Wallace said the UK was "built on chips and spam fritters", and called Berry's comments an "attack on our British way of life".

Berry told Good Housekeeping that homes should not have fryers and children should not consume "sugared drinks".

The latest Bake Off series began on Wednesday, with millions watching.

Wallace's comments come after Berry told Good Housekeeping: "We need to teach parents about the right foods to give children. It's very difficult.

"Many people think children must have chips. I don't think any household should have a deep fat fryer."

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Media captionGBBO judge Mary Berry: "I have never, on any of my programmes, ever used a deep fat fryer"

Wallace called the remarks "ludicrous".

"I love Mary dearly but this is an attack on our British way of life," he wrote.

"We fry things, that's what we do. It's like banning the wok in China or outlawing the pizza oven in Italy."

Wallace said he had been born in 1964 and the smell of deep-fat frying was "universal" during his childhood, bringing "friends and family together".

"In fairness to Mary, we probably did use the fryer a little bit too much in the good old days," he added.

"In my childhood home, the chip pan was always on the go.

"Even though I have a warm, nostalgic view of spam fritters, if you gave them to me now, I would probably find them absolutely disgusting.

"But that's not the point, is it? I'm not going to preach to people - let them make their own minds up."

'I miss fish and chips'

Paul Perrozzi, from Rotherham, said: "Gregg Wallace is correct - a deep fat fryer is just as much a part of a British kitchen as is a saucepan or a stew pot."

Karen Donaldson, of Leven in Fife, said: "I agree wholeheartedly with Mary. I do not believe that the nation was 'built on chips and spam fritters' and that it is a part of the British way of life. Not at all."

Susan Sandham, from Caldicot in Monmouthshire, said: "I chucked my frying pan out 35 years ago and I am sorry Gregg but the nation's health is too important to fuss about chips."

Nick Rees, of Courlay in France, said: "Gregg is right. Fish and chips was and still is a British way of life. We are famous for this dish around the world, and living in France it is one of the dishes that I do miss."

Catherine Bell, of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, said: "I am British through and through, and since leaving home nearly 15 years ago I have never felt the need to own a deep-fat fryer. Yuk! Definitely #TeamMary on this one."

Jaffa Cake debate

Wednesday's opening Bake Off episode sparked a different debate, after judge Paul Hollywood dunked a Jaffa Cake in a cup of tea and Berry told him: "We don't do that in the south, you know."

McVitie's, which makes the snack, said "passionate" Britons had responded by saying: "Jaffa Cakes are not for dunking."

Brand director Kerry Owens said "we tend to agree", as the sponge base "just isn't robust enough to hold up in a hot drink".

But she added: "Paul is the nation's expert of all things baking so maybe we'll see him starting a new trend."

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