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Interview with Nigella Lawson

Aired April 19, 2010 - 16:49   ET




NIGELLA LAWSON, CELEBRITY CHEF: Some people can't face thinking about food the first thing in the morning. Not me.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Labeled the queen of food porn, Nigella Lawson hardly needs a surname to be recognized. The journalist-turned television cook is regarded as this generation's domestic goddess. With her strongly effeminate style, she's lauded as both an object of male adulation and a female ideal. Although many refer to her as a celebrity chef, Lawson has never been professionally trained, but that hasn't stopped her brand from exploding.

In addition to seven best-selling cookbooks, Lawson has hosted a series of television shows, including her latest, "Nigella Express."


LAWSON: (INAUDIBLE) believe me, there is no turning back.


ANDERSON: And this week, she's even launching her own iPod application, which she endearingly calls The Nigella.

Men want to be with her, women want to be her. Nigella Lawson is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON: And I sat down with Nigella Lawson here in London earlier today. And I asked her what -- or why she wanted to create this new iPhone ap.

This is what she said.


LAWSON: It seemed to me that what would be really helpful would be having, as it were, lots of recipes from different books -- you know, and some new ones, obviously...


LAWSON: -- kind of distilled, put in a form that you can carry around with you. Because, what -- I don't know, what I find really hard when I'm tired is that thing of oh, what am I going to cook for supper?

I've always worked on the principle that if I need something...


LAWSON: -- most of the other women in my position or people...


LAWSON: -- it's not really -- you know, like I'm busy. I like food. I want to cook something that's simple at the end of the day and maybe there -- you know, there's all sorts of things going on in my life. So I suppose I just think I want to make things that make my life simple.


LAWSON: And by extension, other people's.

ANDERSON: Brilliant.

LAWSON: But it's quite fun, because, you know, I love doing books, but there's something quite interesting about doing something in a completely different medium. It feels -- it feels weird. But, you know, I do feel a little bit like -- did you ever watch "Star Trek?"


LAWSON: I do feel like I'm going um, um, um, um, um (INAUDIBLE).


LAWSON: So I can feel it like here we've got the strawberry. I'm just waiting for it to...


LAWSON: I want to go into recipes. So I am going to go to exclusive ap recipes. And there...

ANDERSON: And those...

LAWSON: -- there it is -- cheesecake in a glass.

ANDERSON: Fabulous.


The same.


LAWSON: Oh, what a curious coincidence. So you go like that. And so you can go to the recipe and then if you wanted to -- because it's got all the steps here...


LAWSON: OK. So I'm going to give it a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) because if you whisk it too much, it will get too thick.

ANDERSON: Brilliant.

We have lots and lots of questions from the viewers.

Reynolds has written in from Paris. He says: "At what age did you start cooking and where did you get your inspiration from?"

LAWSON: I started cooking a very young age, because my mother was a believer in child labor. And, in fact, you know, probably you'd be taken into care for doing you know what...


LAWSON: So when I was about six and my sister five, my mother would put a really rickety chair by the stove and the flames would be coming like that. And she would get us to stir and things like -- some nights we'd help her make mayonnaise. She poured the oil in and we'd be whisking like that or the other way around.

And in a way, you learn quite well when you have to. I mean I was 15 before I realized there were cookery books. And I suppose I was also brought up in quite an old-fashioned way, which is to say, I am the oldest girl within a large family. So I was often having to, you know...

ANDERSON: To cook?

LAWSON: Um-hmm.

ANDERSON: Are your kids encouraged to?

LAWSON: As long as you don't think they're going to help you.


LAWSON: That's OK. But -- but they go out -- sometimes they do want to. Then, you know, obviously, there are times when they feel they -- they want to rebel and they're not interested.

ANDERSON: Keira from New York has written in. She says: "What's your favorite type of food to cook and what is your favorite type of food to indulge in?"

LAWSON: Well, I suppose I spent sort of formative years in Italy. So I think probably sort of Italian food is what I am very comfortable cooking. But I've got quite a -- I love cooking Thai food, as well. I mean one of the things about living in a very cosmopolitan city is the luck of being able to get ingredients from all over. And I think Thai food is fantastic and also very simple to cook.

So I suppose those two.

And as for my favorite foods to indulge in, I'm lucky to say that I have a fantastic eating life, because it's all heavenly.

ANDERSON: There's pleasure in it.

A great question here from Natalie from Dublin.


ANDERSON: And I'm assuming -- see, I'm assuming she's talking about her husband or -- and/or kids. She says: "Any suggestions on how to get a meat lover to eat more vegetables? I've tried adding veggies to sauces to disguise them, but they're always pushed to the side.

LAWSON: Well, I have to say, it's a very hard one. I -- when my son was about three, I did -- in one of the programs I was doing. And this is a wonderful -- this is a really good way of getting children to eat vegetables with it. And the director kept on saying (INAUDIBLE) because he had small children, too. And my son ate a bit of it and spat it out...


LAWSON: -- when he was on camera. So I don't know that I'm like able to mask. Well, I think the only vegetable men really like is peas, actually. I do think that. But children, you've got to remember, they're not just being difficult, that they've got many more taste buds than we do. So -- so the -- the metallic taste of spinach actually isn't present with more broccoli. So you do have to temper it with something that will make it not taste so sort of viciously graphically (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: I'm wondering whether you do Brussels, then, at Christmas.

A. Scott from South Korea says: "What is your favorite Christmas dinner, out of interest?"

LAWSON: Well, I don't know how long this program is, but I eat so much at Christmas. My -- I'm -- I'm completely trapped. You know, I want roast turkey. I want stuffing. I want roast partridge. I want roast potatoes. I do do Brussels sprouts with chestnuts. And I also do some braised red cabbage, which is great, and also -- and then I -- I mean I go -- I mean I do sausages, too. And then I am gravy and bread sauce and cranberry sauce.


LAWSON: And then I do...


LAWSON: -- two puddings, because I do, you know, traditional Christmas pudding. And I do what I call like Christmas pudding for people who don't like Christmas pudding, which is -- it looks the same, but it's just a steamed chocolate pudding.


ANDERSON: How about lunch there on Christmas Day?

Wouldn't that be nice?

Nigella Lawson for you. Fab.

And tomorrow's Connector has created some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters -- "Titanic," "Terminator" and "Avatar." He's multiple Academy Award winning film director, James Cameron. And he will be talking to us about what it's like to be at the helm of the highest grossing movie of all time and his fashions for the Amazon rainforest.

What would you like to do about this movie mogul?

Well, do send us your comments. It's your part of the show. Head to and join in on that.