Jennifer Paterson

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Jennifer Paterson
Jennifer Mary Paterson

(1928-04-03)3 April 1928
Kensington, London, England
Died10 August 1999(1999-08-10) (aged 71)
South Kensington, London, England
Resting place Putney Vale Cemetery, London
51°26′25″N0°14′18″W / 51.440358°N 0.238202°W / 51.440358; -0.238202
OccupationCelebrity chef, actress, food journalist
Years active1982–99
Television Two Fat Ladies (1996–99)

Jennifer Mary Paterson (3 April 1928 – 10 August 1999) was a British celebrity chef, actress and television personality who appeared on the television programme Two Fat Ladies (1996-1999) with Clarissa Dickson Wright. Prior to this, she wrote a cookery column both for The Spectator and for the Oldie. [1]

A celebrity chef is a kitchen chef who has become a celebrity. Today, chefs often become celebrities by presenting cookery advice and demonstrations, usually through the mediums of television and radio, or in printed publications. While television is ultimately the primary way for a chef to become a celebrity, some have achieved this through success in the kitchen, cook book publications, and achieving such awards as Michelin stars, while others are home cooks that won competitions.

Two Fat Ladies is a BBC2 television cooking programme starring Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. It originally ran for four series, from 9 October 1996 to 28 September 1999, being produced by Optomen Television for the BBC. Since then, the show has been repeated frequently on the Food Network and Cooking Channel in the U.S. and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia. In the UK, the show has been transmitted many times on the satellite channel Good Food.

Clarissa Dickson Wright English celebrity chef, television personality, writer, businesswoman, and barrister

Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright was an English celebrity chef, television personality, writer, businesswoman, and former barrister. She was best known as one of the Two Fat Ladies, with Jennifer Paterson, in the television cooking programme. She was an accredited cricket umpire and one of only two women to become a Guild Butcher.


The pair were famous for their rich traditional meals made from scratch. Paterson was known for her liberal use of butter and cream, remarking on her television show in her usual manner with a shake of the hand, that yoghurt was only fit for vegetarians and those with "a poor tummy". They travelled to filming locations throughout the UK on Paterson's Triumph Thunderbird motorbike with Dickson Wright occupying the sidecar.

Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle by Triumph

The Triumph Thunderbird is a British motorcycle that was introduced by Triumph in 1949 and produced in many forms until 1966. The name was used three more times for new and distinct Triumph models.

Sidecar German term for articulated vehicles and motrocycles (bicycles) with sidecars

A sidecar is a one-wheeled device attached to the side of a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle, making the whole a three-wheeled vehicle. A motorcycle with a sidecar is sometimes called a combination, an outfit, a rig or a hack.

Life and career

Paterson came from an Army family, of which she later wrote, "My mother had no idea of how to cook and no wish to learn, existing on gorgonzola, coffee, and chocolates after the demise of any form of servant. My father, having gone through two World Wars, was far too frightened to put on a kettle and my brothers, who married young to very good wives... never showed any signs of wanting to whip up something delicious for a treat." [2]

Paterson was expelled from convent school at 15 for being disruptive. [3] Paterson later became a matron at a girls' boarding school near Reading before ending up as a cook for the Ugandan Legation in London and becoming a well-known figure on the London party circuit. She worked on the ITV show Candid Camera and later became a food writer for The Spectator ; for 15 years, she provided weekly lunches for personalities, including the Prince of Wales. She later wrote a book of recipes and reminiscences from her time at The Spectator entitled Feast Days, Recipes from The Spectator, in the introduction to which the English writer A. N. Wilson professed, "Jennifer Paterson is the best cook I know." [4]

Reading, Berkshire Place in England

Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Basingstoke, 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury as the crow flies.

Legation diplomatic mission not headed by an ambassador

A legation was a diplomatic representative office of lower rank than an embassy. Where an embassy was headed by an ambassador, a legation was headed by a minister. Ambassadors outranked ministers and had precedence at official events. Legations were originally the most common form of diplomatic mission, but they fell out of favor after World War II and were upgraded to embassies.

ITV (TV channel) Commercial television channel in the United Kingdom

ITV is a British free-to-air television channel. Previously a network of separate regional television channels, ITV currently operates in England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Paterson's grave at Putney Vale Cemetery, London, in 2015 Jennifer Paterson grave Putney Vale 2015.jpg
Paterson's grave at Putney Vale Cemetery, London, in 2015

Paterson was a committed Roman Catholic who never married or had any children. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 1999 and died a month later in London. [3] She asked for caviar for her last meal but died before she could eat it. Following a traditional funeral mass, she was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium and her ashes were interred in the cemetery there.

Lung cancer cancer in the lung

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas. The two main types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The most common symptoms are coughing, weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains.

Caviar salt-cured fish-eggs of the Acipenseridae family

Caviar, , is a delicacy consisting of salt-cured roe of the Acipenseridae family. Caviar is considered a delicacy and is eaten as a garnish or a spread. The roe can be "fresh" (non-pasteurized) or pasteurized, with pasteurization reducing its culinary and economic value.

Putney Vale Cemetery

Putney Vale Cemetery and Crematorium in southwest London is located in Putney Vale, surrounded by Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. It is located within 47 acres of parkland. The cemetery was opened in 1891 and the crematorium in 1938. The cemetery was originally laid out on land which had belonged to Newlands Farm, which was established in the medieval period.

Paterson was a parishioner of the London Oratory, [5] and in her will, she left them a bequest that is used to fund their choir program. [6]

London Oratory Catholic community of priests

The London Oratory is a Catholic community of priests living under the rule of life established by its founder, Philip Neri (1515-1595). It is housed in an Oratory House, next to the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Brompton Road, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7.



Motion Picture

DVD release

The Two Fat Ladies DVD set contains a 40-minute BBC tribute to Paterson that aired in 1999 (Ending Credits). The DVD box set was released in the United States in July 2008. The Acorn Media release contains all 24 episodes across four discs. The show had been released in Britain as a Region 2 DVD set. [7]

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  1. Owen, Emma (1999-08-11). "Jennifer Paterson death". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. Jennifer Paterson (1990). Feast Days, Recipes from The Spectator (London: John Murray Publishers), p. xi.
  3. 1 2 Nemy, Enid (11 August 1999). "Jennifer Paterson, 71, Dies; TV Cook From 'Fat Ladies'". The New York Times . Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. Paterson, Feast Days, p. v.
  5. Barrow, Andrew (11 August 1999). "Obituary: Jennifer Paterson". The Independent. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  6. "Supporting the Future". The London Oratory. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  7. "New DVDs: 'Two Fat Ladies,' in full". DVD Spin Doctor. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2018.