Nigella Lawson's rant in defence of the home cook

By Colin Vickery

Nigella Lawson. Photo / Getty Images
Nigella Lawson. Photo / Getty Images

Nigella Lawson has hit back at foodies who reckon that running your own restaurant is superior to cooking at home.

Britain's famed "domestic goddess" believes that home cooks can show far more flair and creativity than professional chefs.

Lawson spent a week filming special episodes of MasterChef Australia and fair to say she doesn't share the dream of most contestants, or judge George Calombaris, of running their own restaurant.

Read more: Is Nigella Lawson's food empire crumbling?

"Everyone talks as though the life of a professional chef is artistic and creative and the life of a home cook is drudgery, but it is the other way around," Lawson says.

"Of course a few chefs are creative but once they get successful all they are doing is recreating their dishes to consolidate their success.

"Whereas, being a home cook, you can do whatever you want. You open your fridge, you see what you've got there, and you can be as creative as you like. There's a freedom."

Lawson recently travelled to Australia to film a special "Nigella Week" of Ten's cooking show. Lawson selects the ingredients for a Mystery Box Challenge. Contestants have to cook a three-course meal from Lawson's recipes in a Pressure Test.

At the end of the week, Lawson and judge Matt Preston join forces to create tequila chicken with chilli, ginger sauce and jacket potatoes as well as a lemon curd pavlova for the show's Masterclass.

Calombaris, who is a qualified chef and owns a string of eateries, recently admitted that he had been guilty of dismissing Lawson's food talent.

"Just because this person is a home cook doesn't mean she doesn't know anything about food," Calombaris said. "In the past I would have thought that about Nigella."

Spending a week with Lawson made Calombaris realise the error of his ways. He came away a fan, as did all of the contestants. The feeling is mutual.

"I'm interested in food but I'm also interested in people," Lawson says. "I like to teach (contestants) by encouragement. I'm not a stern person.

"I fear ... I would not be that great (as a contestant) because (of the pressure). I would suddenly think "I can't do this".

"I often said 'please don't let me go and talk to them now (in the middle of a challenge) because they're looking so stressed."

MasterChef Australia has already had a week devoted to Marco Pierre White. In coming weeks there will be a week devoted to Heston Blumenthal.

Nigella Lawson signs copies of her book. Photo / Getty Images
Nigella Lawson signs copies of her book. Photo / Getty Images

Fair to say Lawson has no intention of following in their footsteps.

"Marco and I are around the same age," Lawson says. "I remember when he was young and starting off. His skills were extraordinary. When you ate his food you thought 'I have never tasted anything quite like this.

"But then he stopped cooking - and that's a typical thing. I wouldn't want to be working in a professional kitchen. It is like a military operation.

"I don't think it is relaxing cooking for people all the time (as a professional chef). For me, pottering about day to day (in home kitchen) is. I'm happy stirring a pan of risotto."

- news.com.au

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