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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the cookery writer Nigel Slater. The British public have taken Slater and his recipes to their hearts and - crucially - their kitchens in recent years, encouraged by his philosophy that cooking need not be daunting. Don't cook to show off, he says, or because you feel you should - cook for enjoyment, and comfort. Choose good ingredients, cook them simply, and above all - relax.

Slater's passion for food grew out of a lonely, neglected childhood in which his only comforts were culinary. Born in Wolverhampton in the late 50s, his mother died when he was just nine leaving a gap in his life which he tried to fill with comfort food. Against his father's wishes, he fantasised about being a chef, later leaving home to go to catering college and then work in a variety of restaurants around the country. After testing recipes for a new magazine, he first came to public attention as food editor for Marie Claire.

Currently food editor of the Observer, Slater'

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