Delia Smith has been awarded a CBE, describing it as a tribute to all home chefs.

Through her recipes and popular television programmes Celia, 68, has become a culinary institution, teaching the nation to cook and bake for 40 years.

Her books – including Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course and How to Cheat at Cooking – have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Her shows are avid viewing for foodies and kitchen novices alike and can influence the buying habits of shoppers if they feature personal recommendations.

Speaking after receiving the honour from the Prince of Wales at a Buckingham Palace investiture she said: “There are so many people who do so much but to be picked out amongst them is a great honour.

“I think the main thing is what my husband said, he said it’s sort of a tribute to home cooks all over Britain.

“I still love cooking. I don’t like it, like all of us, when you’ve done a hard day’s work and got to rush home and get a meal on the table, then it’s not much fun.

“But if I’ve got nothing to do and can lock myself in the kitchen for a couple of hours with the radio on then I love it.”

Delia brought out her first recipe book, How to Cheat at Cooking, in 1971, and began her TV career two years later with a BBC series called Family Fare.