In the Kitchen with Nigella Lawson

By Fabiana Santana

nigella-lawson-1She is credited with bringing sexy back to the kitchen. But British “it” girl Nigella Lawson is more than just a pretty face.

It’s not often that a cooking show soft focuses on the host licking chocolate off her fingers and sashaying around the kitchen in leopard print mules. But that is exactly what a viewer will be treated to if they tune into one of Nigella Lawson’s cooking shows. In fact, much of her appeal is in that she is a real woman – one that visits the fridge in the middle of the night to finish up the leftover dessert. She’s the one on TV licking her spoon and swooning over the sauce because it tastes so good. And, she’s the one with the curves. She’s so captivating, in fact, that Alice in Wonderland director Tim Burton even based the White Queen character in his film on her.

“There’s this very beautiful cooking show host in England named Nigella Lawson and I quietly had her as my image for this character,” Burton told the Los Angeles Times.

Nigella wasn’t always focused on being a food star, though. The British bestselling author of six books started out as a journalist for publications such as the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and the Evening Standard. She launched the food column for The Spectator and British Vogue and stumbled on her cable TV culinary success simply on accident.

“I appeared on this Christmas special with a good friend of mine who’s a really fabulous food writer, Nigel Slater. And he is very, very, very shy, so he thought he’d feel more comfortable if there was someone there to chat with while he was doing his thing. So I went on to be this cozy person alongside him, and then I got a series of my own after that,” she said.

That show was Nigella Bites, which eventually became a hit for the BBC, earning the host a Television Broadcast of the Year Award from the Guild of Food Writers in 2001. The show found is way to an American audience via E! Entertainment Network’s Style Network and so began Nigella’s crossover success which would lead to Nigella Feasts, which debuted on Food Network in fall 2006 and Nigella Express, launched in fall 2007 in conjunction with the release of her book, Nigella Express.

And by the way, she has never taking a cooking class. Or attending culinary school. In fact, she finds the whole culinary foodie world frustrating.

“The notion of a foodie fills me with contempt and horror.”