My Kitchen Rules: Everything you need to know about Nigella Lawson

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She's no stranger to the Australian audience, but food writer, cook, domestic goddess, and new My Kitchen Rules judge Nigella Lawson has a celebrity and cooking pedigree many contemporaries find hard to compete with.

Nigella was born into high society in Britain, the daughter of prominent politician, Lord Lawson of Blaby, Nigel Lawson, and his socialite and heiress wife Vanessa.

My Kitchen Rules judge Nigella Lawson, wearing a white double breasted blazer with black stripes, and black tee shirt; stands in a restaurant with long wooden tables and glass louvred windows
My Kitchen Rules' newest judge Nigella Lawson loves spending time in Australia. Photo: Getty Images

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It was at Oxford University that Nigella discovered her love for cooking.

"I would go to the Covered Market a lot to buy onions and sausages," she revealed to the Oxford Mail.

"I cooked an awful lot.

"French onion soup was my speciality.

"That’s when I realised I was someone who liked feeding people."

After university, she started work as a journalist and was soon a restaurant reviewer for The Spectator magazine.

But it was husband John Diamond, a fellow journalist, who suggested she bring out a cookbook.

And her first cookbook How To Eat was a roaring success.

Nigella Lawson with long dark hair worn loose, wearing a tight-fitting grey dress, signing copies of her her first cook book, 'How To Eat', at the book's launch party at the One Aldwych hotel in Covent Garden, London, 28th September 1998.
Nigella Lawson signing copies of her first cookbook, How To Eat, in 1998. Photo: Getty Images

The Sunday Telegraph said the book, which included preparation and time-saving tips, was "the most valuable culinary guide published this decade".

"In cooking, as in writing, you must please yourself to please others," Nigella began the book, a sentiment she has continued to assert.

But that was just the start.

She landed her own cooking show Nigella Bites in 2000 and her follow-up book How to be a Domestic Goddess, combined with her stunning looks, sealed her nickname The Domestic Goddess.

With her youthful appearance, it's hard to believe she was already in her late 30s when she gained public recognition and success, something she is very thankful for.

"I was 38 when my first book came out and I think I was 40 when I started doing my first food TV," she said.

"At that age, it’s work, not life, but if you’re 20, it’s your life."

Nigella Lawson wears and off-the-shoulder black dress as she demonstrates techniques with meat on a chopping board to Jay Leno, who wears a blue apron over a blue shirt and red tie.
Nigella looked very different to other TV cooks at the time, but she was comfortable both with her looks and her skills as she shows Jay Leno. Photo: Getty Images

After 24 years of showing people how to cook through multiple TV shows and books, Nigella, 62, has gained first-name recognition, not just in the world of cooking, but as a celebrity.

But life hasn't always been easy for the home cook.

Her mother died of liver cancer when she was just 48 and Nigella's sister Thomasina died of breast cancer in her early 30s.

She then lost her first husband John in 2001 to throat cancer when their children - Cosima and Bruno - were still young.

"I’ve never been able to take for granted that I’d be alive by this age," she told Good Housekeeping in 2020.

"My mother died at 48 and my sister at 32. And then John at 47.

"So, even if I were the sort of person who planned ahead, I don’t think I would have seen myself here … I kind of think you can’t do anything about it [ageing], so why complain?"

Her second marriage to art dealer Charles Saachi was shrouded in controversy after he was photographed grabbing her around the throat during a tiff at a restaurant.

Shortly after the argument, the couple divorced.

Cook, Eat, Repeat

Her most recent book, Cook, Eat, Repeat, continues her philosophy of writing about how cooking is for her, at whatever stage of life she's at.

"All my books have been about where I am in my life, because I don’t see how else one writes," she tells Vogue.

"Both the title and the project of Cook, Eat, Repeat predate the pandemic, and I had no idea that would become such a pattern.

"It’s always been my way of living.

"If anything, I felt that more people came around to it over the past year."

But did she ever imagine a long and successful career?

“I was so astonished I was writing a cookbook in the first place, so I thought it would be a one-off,” she revealed.

Nigella's kitchen rules

Now with her children in their late 20s and living their own lives, Nigella is free to take on projects that appeal to her, without having to go home to small children.

And My Kitchen Rules is her latest project after years as a guest judge on Masterchef Australia.

"I'm in Australia because Australian cooking is like the Australian character; full of life, unpretentious, fresh and direct, and I love that!" she revealed.

And we bet the contestants are just as excited as the fans to meet her on the show.

MKR is coming soon to @Channel7 and @7plus.

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