Life and Times
Nigella Lawson is a celebrity TV cook and cookbook author. Not a professional cook by training, she emphasizes enjoyment rather than achievement in cooking. She is not a purist; she is not afraid to reach for frozen vegetables or powdered stock. Her shows show her actually eating her own food, sitting on a chesterfield in front of the television.
Her parents were very worldly Jews; her mother not only celebrated Christmas, but cooked ham for it. Her great-great-grandmother insisted on cooking Christmas dinner a second time each year on Midsummer’s Day, and she has shocked foodies of all religious ilks with her recipe for ham cooked in Coca-Cola.
She has been a regular reviewer on Channel 4’s “Booked” programme with David Aaronovitch in the UK.
She lives in Shepherd’s Bush, West London.
- 1960 — Nigella was born 6 January 1960 in London, as Nigella Lucy Lawson. Her mother was Vanessa Salmon; her father was Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, and Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher between June 1983 and October 1989. He also published a food book, titled “The Nigel Lawson Diet Book” (January 1989.) She also had a brother, Dominic, and two sisters, Horatia and Thomasina (Horatia lives in New York.) Nigella went to Godolphin and Latymer School, then Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford where she studied Medieval and Modern Languages. Her brother was an editor of the Sunday Telegraph newspaper from 1995 to 2005.
- 1976 — At age of 16, Nigella spent some time in Paris with friends of her parents
- 1979 — She spent a year in Italy, principally Florence, at the age of 19.
- 1980 — Her parents divorced
- 1985 — Her mother died of liver cancer
- 1985 — Nigella wrote a restaurant column for the Spectator (which her father had been editor of from 1966 — 1970, and of which her brother Dominic was later also editor from 1990 until 1995.)
- 1986 — Nigella worked for the Sunday Times as a deputy literary editor.
- 1992 — Nigella was married in Venice to John Diamond (10 May 1953 — 2 March 2001), who also wrote for The Sunday Times. She was his second wife. Nigella and John would have two children, Cosima and Bruno.
- 1993 — Nigella’s sister Thomasina died of breast cancer, aged 32, ten days before the birth of Cosima, Nigella’s first child.
- 1996 (circa) — Nigella had her second child, Bruno.
- 1997 — John Diamond diagnosed with cancer. He suffered from tongue cancer. Operations removed his tongue and epiglottis, rendering him unable to speak. He was fed through a tube into his stomach.
- 1998 — Nigella wrote a monthly food column in Vogue UK.
- 1998 — Nigella appeared on Nigel Slater’s Real Food programme on Channel 4 (UK.)
- 2000 — Nigella did a TV show called “Nigella Bites, Series 1” (Channel 4, UK.)
- 2001 — Nigella did a follow-up TV show called “Nigella Bites, Series 2” (Channel 4, UK.) Her husband John died of cancer on the 1st of March. Later that year, her show, the “Nigella Bites Christmas Special”, was broadcast in December. Nigella went blonde briefly during this year.
- 2002 — Nigella did the TV show, “Forever Summer”, broadcast in August. On 18 September, Nigella started the “At My Table” column for the Dining In/Dining Out section of the New York Times, appearing every other Wednesday. In November, Nigella launched her line of kitchen goods, designed with Sebastian Conran. By December, she had started appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America.
- 2003 — In September, Nigella married Charles Saatchi (9 June 1943 — ), art collector and advertising magnate. It was his third marriage.
- 2005 — Nigella did a TV day-time talk show called “Nigella!” for ITV, but the show was not successful. Though it paid her £20,000 an episode, she wasn’t keen on it to start with. It lasted for a month during the summer.
- 2006 — Nigella launched a new range of kitchen goods, called “Kitchen Black”
Books by Nigella Lawson
- 1998. How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food
- 2000. How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking
- 2001. Nigella Bites
- 2002. Forever Summer with Nigella
- 2004. Feast: Food That Celebrates Life
- 2006. Nigella Lawson, A Biography
- 2007. Nigella Express
- 2008. Nigella Christmas
- 2010. Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
Bilmes, Alex. Say What You Like About Nigella Lawson. New York: GQ Magazine. January 2001.
Boshoff, Alison. Has domestic goddess Nigella retired from television? London: Daily Mail. 25 August 2006.
Lane, Harriet. An angel at our table. Manchester, England: The Guardian. 17 December 2000.