Dame Prue Leith has revealed she gave 30 people food poisoning after serving up a dodgy chicken dish, with one guest almost “ending up in the morgue”.
The Great British Bake Off judge, 82, recalled the incident from the early days of her catering career when her company, Leith’s Good Food, was hired to cater an event.
“You can’t be in catering for 30 years without something going disastrously wrong,” she said while speaking on stage in Bath on the first night of her Nothing In Moderation tour.
Her company had initially been hired to cook a chicken mayonnaise dish for 25 people, but disaster struck when an additional five people were suddenly added to the guestlist.
Leith told the audience: “The cooks poached another chicken while the flesh was still warm, which is a crime, and they mixed with the chicken that was already there.”
As if that wasn’t enough, she explained that the the venue had no refrigeration and so the food was left out on an exceptionally hot day.
“This chicken sat there and lunch was very late and we managed to poison everybody.”
She continued: “It haunts me that episode as everybody was ill. All 30 people but two of them ended up in hospital and one of them was in critical care as he was very old and was a High Court judge.
“He could have ended up in the morgue and not in hospital. That was a wake-up call.”
The television personality founded her company in the 1960s and went on to open numerous restaurants and training companies.
The South African-born star was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2021 in recognition for services to food, broadcasting and charity.