Not only is Prue Leith exceptionally good at judging Victoria sponges, she’s also a talented writer and respected businesswoman.

At Hay this evening, she recalled her early days in the food industry when she tried to find work in Maxim's in Paris, "but they were not going to let a woman in the kitchen”.

The legendary chef started her own restaurant and catering school, named Leith’s School of Food and Wine, and had the audience laughing as she spoke of catering for Tate Modern. “We made soup out of anything that was basically white,” she said.

“Even today there’s a class thing in food”. Leith remembered her days working for The Orient Express and making sandwiches for Vogue.

In the 80s the foodie superhero shot to success as an entrepreneur, and went on to win the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year award.

The Bake Off judge’s latest cookbook is Prue: My All Time Favourite Recipes. But food hasn’t been her only passion. She spoke about the newest edition to her fictional series Angelotti Chronicles, The Lost Son, which, she said, encompasses her own life and stories.

However, she said this might be the end of her novel-writing career. “I’m eating cake and having a good time,” she said.

If you’re interested in food please also see Event 312 at 7pm on Friday 31 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.

Picture by Paul Musso