Wolverhampton-born Nigel was presented with his award at the city’s Grand Theatre on Friday September 11 in recognition of his many outstanding achievements.
He told graduates from the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure: “Don’t limit your horizons.”
Nigel said: “One of the extraordinary things about receiving this honour is that it’s given me a chance to look back at how I got to be doing what I do.”
He thanked his junior school teacher Philip Staley for inspiring his love of words and said: “He encouraged me to understand the joy of words on the page, both reading them and, later, writing them.”
He added that much of his career had been unplanned and was a “happy accident”.
“This award is the icing on my little cake. Thank-you very, very much indeed,” he said.
Nigel began cooking at an early age. He worked in restaurants around the country from the age of 16. He then moved to London and became a recipe tester and a cook for food photography.
In 1988, he joined Marie Claire magazine as the food editor which continued for over five years. By 1993, he was then writing about food in a column for the Observer's Life magazine. He became the principal writer for the Observer Food Monthly supplement and his first book, Real Fast Food, has sold over a million copies.
His new book A Cook and His Vegetable Patch is out on Monday and a new BBC series, Simple Suppers is currently being screened.
For more information please contact Emma Kilvert in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.