Born In: Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom
Nigella Lucy Lawson is an English broadcaster, journalist, television personality, and food writer. Born into a prominent and wealthy family, she started work as a book reviewer and restaurant critic, and then embarked upon a career as a freelance journalist, writing for a number of newspapers and magazines. Her first cookbook ‘How to Eat’ sold 300,000 copies and became a best-seller while her second book, ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’, won her the British Book Award for Author of the Year. She hosted her own cooking show series, Nigella Bites, on Channel 4, accompanied by another best-selling cookbook ‘Nigella Bites’. She hosted the Food Network's ‘Nigella Feasts’ in the United States, followed by a three-part BBC Two series, Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, in the UK, which led to the commissioning of Nigella Express on BBC Two. Though she has enjoyed a successful career in cookery, she is not a trained chef, and does not like being referred to as a "celebrity chef". Her dishes are known for their simplicity and do not require elaborate preparation. Her warm and honest demeanor as well as her stunning beauty enables her to engage both male and female viewers. Described as the sexiest television chef ever to grace an apron, she continues to inspire men and women to cook.
Also Known As: Nigella Lucy Lawson
Spouse/Ex-: Charles Saatchi (m. 2003), John Diamond (m. 1992–2001)
father: Nigel Lawson
mother: Vanessa Salmon
siblings: Dominic Lawson, Horatia Lawson, Thomasina Lawson
children: Bruno, Cosima
Born Country: England
City: London, England
Notable Alumni: Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
education: Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
awards: 2000: British Book Award for Author of the Year for How to be a Domestic Goddess
2001: WH Smith Book Award for How To Be A Domestic Goddess shortlisted for Lifestyle Book of the Year
2001: Guild of Food Writers for Television Broadcast of the Year for Nigella Bites
2001: World Food Media Award for Gold Ladle Best Television Food Show for Nigella Bites
2002: WH Smith Book Awards for Lifestyle Book of the Year for Nigella Bites
2007: World Food Media Award for Gold Ladle Best Food And/Or Drink Television Show for Nigella's Christmas Kitchen
Nigella Lawson was born on January 6, 1960, in London to Baron Nigel Lawson of Blaby, a former Conservative MP, and a former Chancellor of the Exchequer in Margaret Thatcher's government, and his ex-wife, Vanessa, a wealthy socialite.
She had an unhappy childhood as she did not get on well with her father, and she became friendly with her mother who died of cancer at 48, only when she reached adulthood.
Her biological siblings are her brother, Dominic, sisters Horatia and the late Thomasina. She has a half-brother Tom, and a half-sister Emily - her father's children by his second wife.
She was an intelligent student who struggled with her schooling. She moved schools five times and eventually attained a Master's degree in Medieval and Modern Languages from Oxford.
Lawson originally worked in publishing, first taking a job under publisher Naim Attallah. At 23, she began her career in journalism after being invited to write book reviews for ‘The Spectator’.
She became the deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times in 1986 but did not want to be an executive and embarked on a freelance writing career, writing columns on food and makeup.
’How to be a Domestic Goddess’, published in 2000, focused primarily on baking. The book sold 180,000 copies in four months, and she was invited by The Observer to be their social affairs columnist.
The ‘Nigella Bites’ series was later broadcast on American television on channels E! and Style Network. The book ‘Nigella Bites’ became the second bestselling cookbook of Christmas 2002 in America.
In November 2003, she supervised the menu and preparations for a lunch hosted by Tony Blair at Downing Street for George W. Bush and his wife during their state visit to the UK.
Her fifth book ‘Feast: Food that Celebrates Life’, released in 2004, made sales worth £3 million. That year she appeared frequently on American television including talk shows such as ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’.
Her third food-based television series, called ‘Nigella Feasts’ debuted on the USA's Food Network in 2006 for a 13-week run. Time magazine wrote a favorable review saying, “Nigella Feasts will leave you wishing for an invite”.
A three-part weekly cookery show entitled ‘Nigella's Christmas Kitchen’ was aired in 2006. The first episode had a viewership of 3.5 million and the final episode went on to become the top show on BBC Two.
‘Nigella Express’, a 13-part cookery series began on BBC Two in 2007, suggesting ways of making simple and quick dishes. An accompanying book by the same name was also released.
She was one of the three judges on a special battle of Iron Chef America, "The Super Chef Battle”, in 2010, which pitted Cristeta Comerford Bobby Flay against Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali.
Her 2012 book, ‘Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration’ was received well in the US and Italy. The 8-part TV series entitled ‘Nigellissima’ was broadcast by the BBC.
She starred with Anthony Bourdain in the reality cooking show ‘The Taste’, in the United States in 2013. A UK version of the show began airing in January 2014 on Channel 4. She next appeared in the television series, ‘Simply Nigella’ and ‘Nigella: At My Table.’
In 2019, she made an appearance as a guest judge in the cooking reality television series, ‘MasterChef.’ The following year, she hosted the television series, ‘Nigella's Cook, Eat, Repeat.’ In 2020, she joined the cooking reality series ‘My Kitchen Rules’ as a judge.
Lawson decided to write a cookbook after she observed a distraught dinner party host. ‘How to Eat’, published in 1998, featured culinary tips on preparation and saving time, and sold 300,000 copies in the UK.
She hosted her own cooking show television series, ‘Nigella Bites’, from 1999 to 2001 on Channel 4 and averaged 1.9 million viewers. Victor Lewis-Smith, a normally harsh critic praised her for being, “formidably charismatic".
Lawson’s second book ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’ won two important awards. In 2000, it won the British Book Award, and in the following year; the WH Smith Book Award.
Her very successful television show, ‘Nigella Bites’ was the recipient of the Guild of Food Writers Television Broadcast of the Year Award and the World Food Media Gold Ladle Best Television Food Show Award in 2001
She also won the WH Smith Book Lifestyle Book of the Year Award for Nigella Bites and the World Food Media Gold Ladle Best Food And/or Drink Television Show Award for Nigella's Christmas Kitchen.
Nigella Lawson was happily married to journalist John Diamond and together had a daughter, Cosima, and a son, Bruno. Diamond was diagnosed with throat cancer and died in March 2001, aged 47.
Lawson married art collector Charles Saatchi but filed for divorce, citing ongoing unreasonable behavior; the pair was granted a decree nisi, ending their ten-year marriage in July 2013.
Lawson supports the Lavender Trust which supports young women with breast cancer. She first became involved with the charity in 2002 when she baked some lavender cupcakes to be auctioned at a fundraising event.
Lawson declined an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. Though entitled to the courtesy title of "The Honorable", being the daughter of a life peer, she does not use it.
Regarding her dietary habits, this British gourmet declared, I eat healthily. It's just that I eat enough for five healthy people.”
She once declared, “I am not a chef. I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater.”
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