Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Kate hails mother's onion award

Sally Winslet [pic: Reading Evening Post/PA Wire]
Kate Winslet's mother Sally is crowned "Queen of Shallots"

Oscar winner Kate Winslet revealed the honour was the second award won by her family - after her mother had been hailed for her pickled onions.

Sally Winslet won a pickling competition at local pub The Retreat in Reading, Berkshire.

After the 81st Academy Awards on Sunday, the A-list actress from Reading referred to her family's successes.

Winslet, 33, won the best actress Oscar for her role in The Reader. It was her sixth nomination at the awards.

Afterwards she said: "My mum won a pickled onion competition in the local pub just before Christmas and the Reading Evening Post sent me a picture of her holding her jar.

"Well, Reading Evening Post, here's your next Winslet picture!"

The former pupil of the Reading youth theatre Starmaker was accompanied at the award ceremony by her parents, who still live in the town.

A note on The Great Retreat's website read: "Sally Winslet Wins Pickled Onion Contest - Again," - she walked away with a bottle of vodka for her performance.

Kate Winslet (centre) and parents Sally and Roger
Kate Winslet (centre) and parents Sally and Roger

Judges at The Retreat said her onions, which beat off 19 other entries, stood out for being crisp.

Kate's younger sister Beth, 30, was placed third at the annual event.

Landlady Jane Marsden, 55, said: "The competition was closely fought.

"It is not the first time Sally has won and she's always somewhere in the running.

"She uses an old family recipe, it's distinctive and very consistent."

But she added: "Sally is Queen of the Shallots, she's won it often enough so I suppose she's earned the title."

Carolyn Mayling, one of the owners of Red Roofs Theatre School, where Kate was a student, told BBC Berkshire that the actress had been a sensible and "down-to-earth pupil".

She said: "She was actually our head girl, she was at Red Roofs Theatre School for six years.

Bournemouth graduate Simon Beaufoy won the oscar for the best adapted screenplay
Bournemouth graduate Simon Beaufoy with his oscar

"She was great with the little ones as well, we always thought she would make a great teacher actually."

Hit British film Slumdog Millionaire won the top prize at the Academy Awards, winning eight Oscars including best director and best picture.

Also, Bournemouth Arts Institute graduate Simon Beaufoy won the Oscar for the best adapted screenplay award for Slumdog Millionaire.

Arriving in Southampton for a Cabinet away day, Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to the Oscar winners saying: "I am incredibly proud of the Oscar success of Slumdog Millionaire and Kate Winslet, and I congratulate everybody who has contributed to the success."

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