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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 October 2013
I enjoy reading about other people; their trials, tribulations and joys. This book has it all. Prue Leith is so laid back in her narrative. It feels as if she's chatting at a personal level! I felt as if a good friend settled in for the evening and over a few glasses, she told me her life story. I was entranced. I wanted to know every detail of her life in South Africa, her escape to France, settlement in Britain. Her quirky actress mother, her siblings and most of all her illicit arrangement with her lover. It's no easy task to turn the minutiae of everyday life into a gripping narrative. In a highly competitive autobiography market, this stands head and shoulders above the rest. I believe that's because it's honest and from the heart.

Prue Leith pulls no punches in describing her duplicity in concealing her domestic arrangements. It's a moral boundary most would prefer not to condone or cross. But it's also a tale of true love and two souls who were surely destined to be together. And it's easy to forget the extent to which she's influenced the restaurant industry. I well remember the dire divisions of the 70s. Restaurants were either glitzy and posh or if more relaxed, bordering on greasy spoon. A young, visionary Ms Leith introduced a different concept to dining. Great food, great surroundings and great fun was the key to a good eating experience. She influenced a national change in expectations about eating out. Although her restaurants were in London, her books and newspaper columns meant that her views spread to the regions. She challenged the all male environment of the professional kitchen, even changing the view of the Head Chef at the Savoy. He claimed no woman would work in his kitchen ( and gave his laughable reason). But ended up headhunting a young female chef. The book is filled with fascinating insight into the wider business world too. Prue's role on numerous diverse committees, boards and other bodies resulted in the demise of the curly British Rail sandwich and the great supermarket Butchers banger. Some remarkable achievements recounted with wit and candour.

This is one of the most compelling and fascinating books I've read in a while. Despite her name, she was often more imprudence! Lots of snippets and insights but over all, a totally disarming honesty; humorous and heartfelt, I loved this. Thank you, Prue, for sharing so much. Loved it!
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on 10 October 2015
A very honest and lively account of a busy and interesting life. Fascinating......thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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on 1 March 2012
Nowadays many celebrities publish their autobiographies when they are still in their 20s, presumably to cash in whilst they are still famous. Thankfully Ms Leith's book is the 'real deal', detailing as it does nearly 50 years of cooking, loving and much else. Most of all, unlike the ghost-written products of those 'celebs' perhaps unable to string a sentence together, the writing is vivid, funny, poignant and exceptionally honest - one feels that this is the 'real deal', warts and all, with nothing swept under the carpet or concealed from view.

And what a life it has been - from growing up in South Africa, finding the love of food (and men !) in France, to opening up a catering business and having a lifetime relationship with an older man who was also a family friend. These are no sanitised snippets, but neither is it a "kiss and tell" in that the honesty of the authoress shines through. You can tell that the passion Prue has for food is part of her overall passion for life. She took risks, both in her personal and professional life, and ended up not only a well-known cook and restaurateur, but businesswoman, patron of the arts (she is the force behind the 'fourth plinth' at Trafalgar Square), wife, mother and lover. She catalogues her mistakes as well as failures, and one comes to the end of the book feeling that you now know Prue, and can fully understand why she chose the title she did for her autobiography. If you want a rattling good read, and are bored of reading bland memoirs devoid of taste - put some "Relish" on your plate. Like a favourite recipe, you'll want to share this with friends and family - my copy is already out on loan and my Mother's Day present dilemma is sorted.
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on 18 March 2013
Rare to read such an 'open' book. I really enjoyed it :)
What an interesting and busy life she has led.
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on 26 June 2015
Prue Leith is a wonderful writer. Bits of the story are very well known, as they are bound to be when Prue has been such a significant figure in our lives for such a time. It is fascinating to be reminded of the food desert that existed in the UK when she set out on the first of her careers. This book merits 5 stars, however, not because of the headlines but because of the way in which it is written. It is less of a journey through the facts (which are here in abundance, warts and all) than a journey through the feelings that Prue experiences while her life unfolds. The doubts, fears and infectious happiness are all here. The searing, naked pain of her emerging relationship with Ernest Hall is as informative about the scourge of bipolar disorder as it is touching about the emotional roller coaster of love in later life - we are the better for reading about both. Indeed, the whole book is a series of wonderful love stories - her love of her first pony, of her parents, of Rayne Kruger, of Nan Munro, of her two children, of life. She has a disarming way of unfolding the ways in which she feels she has let down the objects of her love that resembles the confessional without being mawkish. If this were a novel it would be regarded as a tremendous literary insight into the human condition. The fact that it is an autobiography, and one written about a hugely successful life, makes it that much more impressive. Charming, disarming, amusing, well-written and, without the slightest note of heaviness or pretension, profound.
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on 20 May 2012
I have just finished reading Prue Leith's lively autobiography and I enjoyed it very much. I am not particularly interested in cookery, but I have fond memories of seeing Prue Leith's mother, the brilliant South African actress, Margaret Inglis in "Separate Tables" when my family and I were on holiday in Durban in 1957.

Prue Leith is four years older than me and grew up in South Africa so we shared similar childhood experiences. I found the account of her early years in South Africa, and later years in France and the UK fascinating. With most autobiographies and biographies, the years of struggle are usually far more interesting than the years of success, as the successful years often amount to no more than a brag-list of achievements and awards.

Although Prue Leith discussed her many achievements, her story held my interest to the end of the book, as her personality and humanity shine through in her writing. Despite success, fame and riches, Prue suffered her fair share of setbacks and she does not skim over the setbacks as others embarking on writing the story of their lives might have done.

Not only did Prue succeed as a cook and caterer, but she has published a number of novels in the later part of her life. I have only read one of them but intend to read the others in due course.
Relish: My Life on a Plate
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on 14 September 2015
Fascinating account of a very interesting life. The story of Prue Leith's life is a compelling story of business success,combined with an honest picture of the highs and lows of relationships and family. It also provides an insight into the food and catering business.
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on 1 September 2014
A bit of a slow burner but eventually I became engrossed and fascinated by this autobiography. I will be investigating the novels next.
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on 30 March 2012
This is a fascinating read from a woman who has been in the public eye since the 70s. It's a warts and all memoir of a diverse and rich life, told with great honesty and warm. The real sense of Prue comes through, her passions and annoyances and blows all those ghost-written-fraction-of-a-life autobiographies out of the water!
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on 19 April 2012
Couldn't put this book down. Prue Leith writes with such honesty and a terrific sense of humour. Made me laugh out loud and reduced me to tears too. What an amazing lady.I was pleased to see that Relish met with South African approval too! [...]
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