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Nigella Lawson Dishes on New TV Series, Jamie Oliver and Food Blogs

by Chris Harnick, posted Apr 24th 2010 3:00PM
Nigella LawsonDon't look for Nigella Lawson to go on a crusade to help America eat better. While she admires what Jamie Oliver is doing, she also likes her potato chips. Lawson's book, 'Nigella Fresh,' recently hit shelves in paperback form on April 20 and the British food writer is getting ready to freshen up your kitchen year-round with new recipes and a new series.

TV Squad caught up with the cook fresh off her new paperback and a successful iPhone application and discussed KFC's new Double Down sandwich, 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' and her time on 'Top Chef' and 'Iron Chef America.'

Can you tell me why you think now is a good time for 'Nigella Fresh' to hit the shelves?

As far as I'm concerned, when I write recipes, I want them to be forever. I'm not interested in this year's fashionable recipes, so all my books, I hope, have a life that endures in the kitchen ... The idea behind 'Nigella Fresh' is to remind people that actually the kitchen can really turn up the volume or turn it down, depending on what you want. [The kitchen] can make the skies go sunny when they're gray -- which is something we need a lot in Britain -- and I suppose it's nice for me to revisit this book because so many of the recipes in this book are still my absolute entertaining staples.

Nigella FreshThey're left as I've done and just because the book the book is published, I don't stop cooking them. Of course I write other books, so I research other books. The thing is, the whole point about a repertoire is it does fit into a life. I suppose there's always a right time for me to talk about my enthusiasm for food and to remind people that I'm not a chef, I'm just a home cook -- not even a trained one -- and that's what this is about. It's about those of us who are in the kitchen at home, trying to make something delicious to eat and that is incredibly important.

When can American audiences expect to see you on TV again?
Well, it should be -- as far as I'm aware -- this fall. I'm going to start filming in a month or six weeks, it's the question of just getting that down. The reason that I don't do TV all the time is partly because I can write books during school hours when my children are still at school and I can't do TV in school hours and also because it's very important to me to ensure every project I do is something I feel driven to do. I never want to become a churning out machine or just do something for ... just, "Because I haven't got a program here, let me do one." So what I'm working on, I've been working on for a while and it makes perfect sense to do it because I think it's quite important. This book is called 'Nigella Fresh,' but I have to keep my enthusiasm fresh and that's very important to me and I think it's important to my readers and viewers.

Is this going to be like a new season of 'Nigella Express'?
It's not going to be a new season of 'Nigella Express,' but there will be many recipes that embrace the 'Express' principle. It'll be much more mixed, it's going to be the sort of food that fits into life in the kitchen all days of the week. There will be very fast recipes and there will be recipes that take a long time to cook, but involve no effort and there will be a little bit of everything, really. I suppose whatever I do -- just like I say I'm not a trained chef, well I'm not a trained performer, so I have a different way of being. All of my programs share that fact all my books in that it's my voice and it's the food I like to eat. I talk about how I think about food, so in that sense, yes, I mean you could say that it is more of the same. Not all recipes will be ultra quick, but I would say the majority of them will be.

What do you think about Jamie Oliver's crusade that's been going on here in the States? His show is just wrapping up this week.
Well, obviously I haven't seen the American show, but I greatly admire Jamie. I think he's a fantastic person and he gives so much of himself to his projects and so much energy. He puts himself out there, I could never quite do that. I'm sure I eat far too unhealthily to be on any sort of mission. I don't want to feel guilty every time I eat some potato chips. [Laughs] But I do admire him for the work he's done, I have to say, he's a great boy.

Are there any food trends out there now that kind of really disgust you? Like, KFC just introduced that Double Down sandwich. Instead of bread, it's two pieces of chicken with bacon and cheese. Is there anything that just really disgusts you that you've seen around?
[Laughs] It's quite difficult because I'm not a chef. I don't really go searching for novelties, so I'm never really aware of new trends. I like all food -- it's a terrible thing to say -- I mean, I really do. I'm really hard pressed when people say, "Well, is there anything you don't eat?" I don't like fake food. I like food to be made out real ingredients. So apart from that, I'll take anything, from the high to the low.

Nigella LawsonWhich did you prefer: 'Iron Chef' or 'Top Chef'? Which one did you like better when you did those programs?
I enjoyed them both. I feel a bit like judging people makes me feel bad because it's always very hard to say anything -- not that I'm unpleasant, but you'll say something you know the contestant doesn't want to hear. Now in many ways, of course it's easier to be absolutely blunt with a professional. Whereas, when someone is just a regular person trying to do something, you don't want to discourage. I found it quite difficult in a way, but luckily I didn't have to say anything that discouraging because I had a great time on both. I know you probably want me to chose one, but I can't honestly think of one I preferred over the other. I take all experiences [laughs].

What do you think about food blogs and the foodie movement? Do you think you helped contribute to that in any way?
I don't think so. [What I like about] the Internet is that it's actually come from everyone. I think It gives people a chance so everyone can be a critic, a food writer, an enthusiast and that how it should be. Food is not for the professionals in the sense that we all eat food, we all cook food, food is a part of everyone's lives and I love reading everyone's food blogs. I absolutely adore it, but I don't think it comes from any sort of leader and that's what makes it so exciting, that it's just people with their unfettered views on what they eat, what they come across. I like food in such a lot of forms. I like watching food on TV, I like thinking about food, I like writing about food, I like cooking food and I like eating food. I love the food bloggers and as far as I'm concerned it's just a bigger banquet.

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Chef Chuck

i really love your site! If you have the time, please come see my blog at pittsburghhotplate.com

Thanks so much!
Chef Chuck

April 25 2010 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elena

Totally agree with Nigella: we have to eat at least three times a day, we might as well enjoy it! The h bar (http://myhbar.wordpress.com/)

April 25 2010 at 6:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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