Professional Chef Spotlight - Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson

May 19th, 2011

Some people don't discover culinary delights until adulthood--or later. Nigella Lawson's high-profile midlife career should inspire all culinary school students who didn't learn to love cooking as children.

The Birth of Culinary Passion
As a girl, Lawson preferred literary to culinary pleasures--in fact, she really didn't enjoy eating. The London-born Oxford graduate first found work as a book reviewer, deputy literary editor, and freelance journalist. At one point, she added a restaurant column to her portfolio. Then she married, had two children, and wrote a cookbook telling women that cooking shouldn't add stress to life. The rest is history.

Now that she's the author of half a dozen best-selling cookbooks, designer of a line of cookware, and star of a series of television cooking programs shown worldwide, pleasure and ease are still what drive Nigella Lawson. Her message to culinary school students would be, "Play with your food."

Cooking is All About Pleasure
"Most cookbooks and food shows are about control, precision, and fear of doing something incorrectly," said a Gourmet interviewer. "In Nigellaworld, the kitchen is not a science lab with rigid rules and formulas to follow. It's a place to play, sometimes with your friends and kids." Lawson herself says, "My point is that the kitchen isn't a place to escape from, it's a place to escape to."

If Food Tastes Good, It Is Good
Taste is what counts. Lawson creates culinary masterpieces and preaches using the best fresh ingredients, but Coca Cola is a key component of her favorite ham recipe. She eats "special Italian eggs from a Greek grocer in Notting Hill--they've got a richer, more eggy flavor, and a fabulous color," but also fixes toasted sandwiches for her children using "a little square of plastic ham and plastic cheese," and says they're delicious.

To culinary super-star Nigella Lawson, good food is for pleasure and play. It should taste delicious, be shared with friends, and ease life's stresses. What culinary student wouldn't want to live in "Nigellaworld"?

Nigella Lawson

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