Nigella Lawson is the daughter of Nigel Lawson, a prominent Conservative politician who held the post of Chancellor, a position second only to that of Prime Minister in the UK. Nigella’s mother, Vanessa Salmon, came from the family that founded Lyons Corner Houses – large restaurants offering food at accessible prices which were hugely popular in the first half of the twentieth century.
Nigella is best known for her TV cookery programmes including Nigella Bites, Nigella Express and Nigella Kitchen. She has a relaxed, sensual, accessible style – at ease with herself and her kitchen. She is a consummate entertainer, luxuriating in the smells, textures and tastes of food. She cooks for family, for friends and for pleasure and understands the value of meals which can be made quickly and easily.
Nigella is not a trained chef. Her background is in journalism – she worked for The Spectator and The Sunday Times before moving on to freelance work. She gravitated towards food writing and her first book How To Eat: Pleasures and Principles of Good Food was published in 1998. Two years later she was presenting her first TV series.
More books followed - books in which Nigella’s personality and love of food come across. She has an encouraging voice - tempting readers to try recipes; sprinkling her writing with tips, hints and anecdotes; suggesting culinary experimentation rather than following her recipes to the letter. Her passion for good food that can be made easily at home is central to her work. How To Be A Domestic Goddess is about baking and comfort food. Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home is, in her words, “the story of my love affair with the kitchen.”
Nigella has had more than her fair share of tragedy. Her mother died of liver cancer in her late forties. Her sister died of breast cancer in her early thirties. Her first husband, journalist John Diamond with whom she had two children, was 47 when he died of throat cancer. Diamond documented much of his harrowing journey through the disease in his Times column.
Nigella Lawson married Charles Saatchi – astute businessman and advertising guru – in 2003. It is interesting to note that Nigella is known to the public by the surname she was born with – a passport, perhaps, to fame and fortune. Yet her first name is a brand worthy of her husband’s advertising acumen - if you say the name “Nigella”, certainly in England, most people will know who you mean.
Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home