Bake Off judge Prue Leith reveals she put 28 people in hospital with food poisoning after a cooking error

The Great British Bake Off judge said the mistake still haunts her

Prue Leith has claimed she almost killed 30 people in a catering mishap at the beginning of her career.

The Great British Bake Off judge, 82, took to the stage as part of her Nothing in Moderation UK tour, where she recalled a huge error whilst catering an event.

Prue’s company, Leith’s Good Food, served chicken mayonnaise that put 28 people in hospital, with one man left in a critical condition.

Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith has claimed she almost killed 30 people in a catering mishap. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

She said: “You can’t be in catering for 30 years without something going disastrously wrong.”

Her company was asked to make the food for 25 people on an exceptionally hot day, and disaster struck as extra guests were added to the list.


The presenter said: “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”.

Prue Leith attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2019. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Prue continued: “This chicken sat there, and lunch was very late, and we managed to poison everybody.”

The South African restaurateur admitted that the experience was a “wake-up call” and has been on her mind since.

Prue explained: “It haunts me that episode as everybody was ill, ‘All 30 people but two of them ended up in the hospital, and one of them was in critical care as he was very old and was a High Court judge”.


She added: “He could have ended up in the morgue and not in the hospital. That was a wake-up call.”

The chef who replaced Mary Berry on The Great British Bake-Off back in 2017 has recently filmed a new series of the US version of the Channel 4 show alongside long-standing judge and fellow chef Paul Hollywood.

The Cotswold native is planning a number of one-woman shows in US locations, including  Los Angeles and New York, before returning to the UK to visit the likes of Bath and Leamington Spa.

Biscuit Week on The Great British Bake Off

Dame Prue told the Mirror: “I’m going to try out one-woman shows in Los Angeles and New York, and then I’m going to do the same in England in Bath and Leamington Spa.

“And if they work, then next year I’ll do two tours, one in the spring and one in the autumn around England and around America.”


The Great British Bake Off season 13 kicked off on Tuesday 13 September, and saw bakers tasked with whipping up 12 mini cakes and a sponge.