Vital Stats - Food brands

Some commentators argue that we spend more time watching cooking on TV than actually doing it ourselves, and our obsession with celebrity chefs bears this out.

Of the most searched-for chefs, Delia is the only one not to have had a new TV series in the last year. However, her homepage is the second most popular cookery website after BBC Food and this has helped to keep her top of the pile for most of the past year.

Nigella jumped to the number one spot during the winter following her Christmas TV special, while Jamie continues to bite at Delia's heels.

Rick Stein has received a boost from his current TV series and continues to support Cornish tourism via the number of search terms containing the words "Rick Stein" and "Padstow".

Despite being arguably the most over-exposed chef on the list, Gordon Ramsey never makes it above third place. However, he can take heart from the fact that he is the most searched for of the five when it comes to sending traffic to restaurant websites, followed by Rick Stein.

Heston Blumenthal's celebrated Fat Duck is the third most searched-for celebrity restaurant, while Pizza Hut ranks above McDonald's and Domino's Pizza when it comes to the major brands.

Search data can provide an interesting insight into our eating habits. When it comes to searching for recipes, cakes top the list in British kitchens, but are overtaken by smoothies in the winter. Chicken is our favourite meat, although vegetarian recipes are more popular for most of the year. Indian is the most popular cuisine, while the interest in slow cooking has an expected dip during the warmer months.

- Robin Goad, director of research for Hitwise UK.

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