Delia Smith. Delia is the mother (grandmother?) of English celebrity cooks and chefs. I grew up knowing that Delia Smith was IT when it came to understanding cooking. Her books were often given as presents within the family, and some of the recipes we use regularly (such as lentil loaf for vegetarians on Christmas Day) come from her books. Delia’s product recommendations on TV can result in huge surges of buying for the items she uses/suggests. Try her How To Cheat At Cooking – great photos, simple recipes, clear instructions.
Gordon Ramsay. OK he is not English he is Scottish, but he has a huge presence in England and his TV format has translated successfully to the far side of the pond. For another face to this fiery chef – I enjoyed a couple of TV episodes on which this book is based - consider Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape: 100 of My Favourite Indian Recipes.
Nigella Lawson. Nigella is a household name. Personally I have found that when I look through her cookbooks there are few recipes I would make as they often involve unusual ingredients, but they look scrumptious and her TV persona suggests they are all easy. For the Nigella lover in your life - Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home.
Jamie Oliver. Jamie Oliver first came to prominence with his TV series (also a book) The Naked Chef. His youth, straight talking and easy style of presenting won him a loyal TV following. His book Jamie's Great Britain, product of another TV series, includes both traditional dishes and recipes the nation has adopted and adapted, recognising the influx of different cooking cultures to the UK.
The above are a smattering of the well known cooks and chefs that English people enjoy. Others you might appreciate include:
Nigel Slater. This man has a love of food that oozes out of him and in to the food he creates. I would recommend Real Fast Food and Real Fast Puddings - links to my reviews of these books appear at the bottom of this article.
Rick Stein. Seafood guru, great on TV often cooking outside in different habitats. Try Rick Stein’s Spain: 140 Recipes Inspired by My Journey Off the Beaten Track for inspiration for seafood recipes.
Rose Elliot. A classic writer for vegetarians. A prolific author, her Simply Delicious was published in 1967. I frequently go back to her books and recipes for inspiration, and believe that giving a vegetarian or person considering vegetarianism one of her books is a great gift.