Smiling broadly and chatting happily as she signed cookbook after cookbook, Nigella Lawson charmed hundreds of fans in Invercargill yesterday.

The businesswoman and TV personality looked cool as a cucumber during her hour in the H&J Smith department store, apparently unfazed by the long queue of people waiting to see her.

She accepted gifts gracefully, including a small red gift bag from one woman and a dozen homemade cupcakes from Invercargill chef Eli Pont, originally from Brazil.

Gerald Brandsen, of Invercargill, a "Southern bloke" kind of guy, took a late lunch break to see Lawson.


"Have you looked at her? She's beautiful and she's amazing."

Sam Kent, of Christchurch, estimated he had spent $2000 on his trip to Invercargill especially to see Lawson in-store and attend her gala dinner at ILT Stadium last night.

The surgical theatre assistant said he had shelled out for transport, accommodation, a ticket to the gala evening cocktail party and four-course gourmet dinner, and a new dinner suit.

"It is an experience I didn't want to miss," he said.

More than 500 people attended the gala evening.