Last Call: Five hours with the enchanting Nigella Lawson

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Five hours with the enchanting Nigella Lawson
Photo: Lisa Maree Williams (Getty Images)

Nigella Bites: The Complete Second Series

I’ve worked in food media for 15 years and have been lucky to meet some of its biggest names. I’ve even gotten to know several intimately and now call them mentors and friends. But I’ve never met Nigella Lawson, and don’t think I’d want to meet Nigella Lawson. It’s not for the reasons you think.


Food television personalities are less about the “food” and more about the “personality.” And Lawson—the British cookbook author and television host—has an air of regality to her. She is fabulous personified. Her presence seems grand and effortless, and, I am frankly intimidated by her splendor. It would be like asking if I ever want to meet the Queen of England... not really? I would be wracked with anxiety, struggling to find words to say. I would just stare at her with a dopey grin, knowing I’m in the presence of someone seven social classes above mine.

And so, my relationship with Nigella Lawson will strictly remain one-way: Me admiring her cooking show on television. Her original cooking show on U.K.’s Channel 4, Nigella Bites, has long been one of our household favorites. It’s shot in a rather intimate way—the camera framing is tighter than most shows, panning back and forth between an extreme close-up shot of the dishes and Lawson’s visage, filling up nearly the entire screen. It feels literally in-your-face, and it makes viewers feel both close to her and intrusive. Perhaps that’s why the thought of meeting her feels daunting, because her magnificence is a hot celestial orb I wouldn’t dare approach.

Above: The complete second season of Nigella Bites, nearly five hours of delicious cooking from the domestic goddess of our times.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.



Can confirm. Went to a book signing. Cold sweat, and I choked up. She was gracious, gorgeous, composed, and I was absolutely not worthy. She told my wife she smelled nice. I just made things weird.