The Taste: meet the mentors – Nigella Lawson

"I don’t feel guilty about any pleasure. I think you should only feel guilty if you don’t take pleasure."


Name: Nigella Lawson


Age: 54

Famous for: Household name Nigella is known for her seductive cooking skills, ability to lick a spoon provocatively and penchant for delicious-looking midnight feasts. She also has nine bestselling cookery books to her name, and several highly successful TV series. 

In her words… 

The Taste: “We taste all the food blind, and we have just one mouthful, on a spoon, from each cook. We don’t know who’s cooked what. We have no idea if it’s been cooked by a home cook or a chef or some other catering professional. This continues throughout the whole competition. So you might easily eliminate someone from your own kitchen, someone you’re mentoring. So we really are judging only on the food.”

Mentoring style: “I’m completely different because I’m a home-cook, and not even a trained one. I love food, I’m a food obsessive. I’ve eaten a lot, and I carry on eating a lot. For me, what’s important about food is the emotional connection it makes as well as how good it tastes. As much as possible, I encourage the cooks in my kitchen to develop an authentic voice, while learning a language they didn’t have before. I’m not going to teach people technique – anyone who’s ever seen my technique knows I have no technique to offer – but I feel very passionately about flavour and taste.”

Fellow mentors: “I come from quite a large family, I have siblings who will tease me, irritate me or amuse me as they choose. I think the important thing [on the show] is we respect each other’s opinions,. I don’t think a disagreement has ever continued when we’ve gone off set. But of course you clash, if you’re defending someone you really believe in, and that person is being attacked. We can get ugly.”

Food guilty pleasure: “I don’t feel guilty about any pleasure. I think you should only feel guilty if you don’t take pleasure.”