Nigella Lawson Returns (Virtually) to ‘MasterChef Australia’ 2021 as Guest Judge

On Sunday’s (April 25) episode of MasterChef Australia 2021, the aspiring cooks were treated to a virtual appearance by beloved British chef Nigella Lawson, who made her fourth appearance as a guest judge on the show.

Lawson presented an incredible pressure test to the five MasterChef contestants who placed lowest in the biscuit tasting challenge — tasking them with re-creating her rhubarb meringue cake without the use of a recipe or visual reference.

The self-taught chef is known for her down to earth approach to cooking as well as her warmth, infectious wit and insistence that it is more important for things to be fun than for them to be perfect. Given her father was a Lord and her mother was an heiress, her approachable nature is even more appealing and, quite frankly, a tad surprising!

Now 61, Lawson started her television career in 1999 with her first cooking show, Nigella Bites, and has been a staple of comfort cooking ever since having sold millions of cookbooks worldwide and racking up 2.5 million followers on Instagram.

The mother-of-two didn’t pick up a cookbook until she was 15, and has previously revealed that she learnt to cook with her own mum. Despite discovering her passion for food as a teenager, however, Lawson first enjoyed a career in publishing before becoming everyone’s favourite foodie.

In 1998, she released her first cookbook — How to Eat with her second offering How to Be a Domestic Goddess winning the British Book Award for Author of the Year in 2000. In total, Lawson has penned numerous books since including 2012’s Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration and 2017’s At My Table. 

Her most recent cookbook, titled Cook, Eat, Repeatis a collection of her favourite comfort recipes and was completed during her pandemic induced isolation.

Lawson told Harpers Bazaar, “I didn’t want the book to be dominated by the pandemic, but I couldn’t ignore these times.”

She added, “You can’t write a book without feeling very intimately connected, but there’s something about this book because it kept me company during lockdown and I felt very fortunate to have work.”

Another reason we love Lawson so much — aside from the fabulous way she pronounces “microwave” — is that she is a pillar of the body positivity movement who does not believe any foods should be seen as a “guilty pleasure.”

“For a lot of people, but particularly for women, there’s so much policing over what they should eat, how they should approach themselves, and persecuting yourself for eating something you like. Because if you say, ‘It’s my guilty pleasure,’ to me, it implies that you feel I don’t deserve that or I shouldn’t be doing that,” Lawson told Harpers.

“Food is such a pure pleasure, and I feel life offers pleasure, then it offers difficulties. You need to try and make the most of those pleasures.”

Or, to put it even more simply, she once summed up her love of food, and her figure, this way.

“I remember Elizabeth Hurley once said, ‘It’s either the cookie jar or the size-six jeans,'” Lawson was quoted as saying.

“Well, fair enough. She would rather the size six jeans, I would rather the cookie jar.”

Amen to that!

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