Nigella Lawson

Television chef Nigella Lawson is a best-selling cookery book author and a familiar face on our screens. Hosting her own shows such as "Nigella Bites" and "The Taste", she reveals her unique slant on cuisine. The daughter of former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, Nigella seemed destined to have a career in cooking, as her mother Vanessa's family owned the famous catering business, J Lyons and Co.

Early Life

Born on 6th January 1960 in Wandsworth, Nigella came from a well-to-do family who had homes in the London boroughs of Chelsea and Kensington. She was an avid reader at school and went on to complete a degree in medieval and modern languages at Lady Margaret Hall College at Oxford University.

She decided to follow a publishing career and in the mid-1980s began working for the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor. She also worked as restaurant critic for The Spectator magazine, where she developed her passion for food. This led to Nigella writing a food column for the New York Times, followed by her appointment as food editor for British Vogue.

TV and Book Career

Nigella's first cookery book in 1998 was called How to Eat. It became a best-seller, with 300,000 copies sold. It featured simple tips on food preparation and saving time when cooking. In 2000, her second book How to Be a Domestic Goddess focused on baking – it won Nigella the title Author of the Year from the British Book Awards.

In 2000, her first TV show, Nigella Bites, was aired on Channel 4. She also presented Nigella Feasts on the US Food Network in 2006 and Nigella's Christmas Kitchen later the same year. Nigella Express was shown on BBC2 in 2007.

She became as well known for her glamorous appearance as she did for her cooking skills, with some television critics claiming her "flirtatious" manner was detracting from the cuisine. However, generally her shows were well-received.

Nigella was one of three judges on the American cooking show, Iron Chef America, in January 2010 and in the same year she wrote another best-selling cook book, Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home. In 2012, she filmed Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration, which was an eight-part TV series for the BBC.

In 2015, she filmed Simply Nigella for BBC 2, with the focus on comfort food - those familiar dishes that are quick and easy to cook.

Even though Nigella enjoys a hugely successful career in cooking, she's always quick to point out she isn't a trained chef and that she hates being labelled a "celebrity chef". She insists she doesn't see herself as an expert in her field and simply enjoys cooking for enjoyment, as she finds it therapeutic.

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