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Thursday 17 April 2014

I hate conflict, says Nigella as 'home cook' returns to TV

TV chef Nigella Lawson arrives at Isleworth Crown Court earlier this month
TV chef Nigella Lawson arrives at Isleworth Crown Court earlier this month

She has endured intimate details of her personal life being aired in court, with allegations about her tempestuous marriage and cocaine use.

But Nigella Lawson, in comments made before the notorious court case and published today, said she's not a "risk taker" and dislikes confrontation.

The 53-year-old television cook said she is "conflict-averse" and, in her role as a "home cook", uses food to bring harmony to all walks of life.

In an interview with the 'Radio Times', she also discusses her new Channel 4 show, 'The Taste', which she says moves away from the reality television model of "humiliation and breast-heaving back stories" to being just about the food.

The programme features Ms Lawson alongside two acclaimed chefs, Ludo Lefebvre and Anthony Bourdain.

A week ago it emerged that Ms Lawson may face a police investigation after admitting in court she had previously used drugs. Giving evidence during the fraud trial of her former personal assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, she admitted taking cocaine several times, most recently in 2010, and smoking cannabis.

She has also had details of her personal life discussed in the media after the publication of pictures appearing to show her former husband Charles Saatchi with his hands around her throat.

Despite being under such scrutiny, Ms Lawson has resumed her professional commitments, including posting recipes for fans from her personal Twitter account and publicising 'The Taste'.

In the programme, the three chefs sample one spoonful of food from 25 hopeful cooks, whittling them down based on the taste alone.

When asked about the difference between chefs and home cooks, Ms Lawson said: "What I would say -- and this is not about food, it is about the personality -- is that, as a general rule, chefs are conflict-driven, they are perfectionist, they are risk takers.

"Whereas home cooks tend to be conflict-averse -- well, I am -- not necessarily risk takers, and we seek to use food to bring harmony, for whatever reason."

Speaking about 'The Taste', she said: "So much of reality TV is the theatre of humiliation or in some sense the culture of the breast-heaving back story, so to have a good competition that is actually about food is . . . rather pleasant."

Her new programme, to be broadcast from January 7, is likely to be a welcome relief for fans, who have united under the name Team Cupcake or Team Nigella.

The cook, who has published a series of bestsellers including 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess', has condemned the nature of the trial, which she claimed led to her being vilified despite only being called as a witness.

In a statement released after the not guilty verdict for the Grillo sisters, she said she was "disappointed but unsurprised", adding: "Over the three-week trial the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible."

Commander Stephen Watson, of the Metropolitan Police, subsequently said that officers would examine the "implications" of what Ms Lawson had said under oath and seek advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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