Delia Smith was the British equivalent of Rachael Ray, long before Ray made yummo a word. With no formal training as a chef, the former hairdresser learned various recipes by reading cookbooks at the British Museum and writing food columns, then pitched to the BBC her ideas about a TV show that taught cooking basics. The hugely successful Delia’s How to Cook ran from 1998 to 2004. Over that period, she became a first-name-only brand among her dedicated viewers, not unlike Oprah, and also shares the Winfrey-esque quality of being able to make a particular ingredient sell out just by using it on TV. When it was reported that Smith was giving up cooking and recipe-writing to focus on football — she and her husband are majority shareholders in the Norwich City Football Club — the news was met with a public outcry. Fortunately for her fans, she was never able to completely give up; Smith started a new show in 2008 called How to Cheat,explaining useful shortcuts in the kitchen.
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