Here's Where Nigella Lawson Really Learned To Cook

Nigella Lawson stood out when she was named one of ten most influential modern chefs of the decade by Britain's OFM (Observer Food Monthly) in 2013. Included in a list filled with names such as Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, Alain Ducasse, and David Chang, she was the token woman (via The Guardian). And while the others touted culinary school backgrounds — she had none. 

Instead, Lawson says she learned to cook from the one person many of us learn from: her mother, Vanessa, who tragically passed away at 48 years of age in 1985 after a battle with liver cancer (via Hello Magazine). 

It was also because of her mother that Nigella says she learned how to eat. Writing in her book "Cook, Eat, Repeat," Lawson says, "I was brought up by a mother – the cook I have learned most from – whose grimly exuberant output in the kitchen was set in painfully sharp relief, and indeed fostered, by an expanding pattern of self-denial and self-punishment; not an uncommon syndrome, incidentally." That changed, she added, when her mother found out her disease was incurable, and it was then that Vanessa decided to indulge in comfort food without guilt.

Nigella Lawson calls herself a "kitchen klutz"

Nigella Lawson knows that her lack of formal culinary training adds to her appeal as a cookbook writer and cooking show presenter. In fact, Lawson calls herself a "kitchen klutz" and says that she began writing books even before she became known as a food columnist, at the same time she was trying to raise her two children (via The Guardian). It's telling that her first cookbook in 1998 wasn't called "How to Cook," but rather "How to Eat," which the chef said was written in memory of the cooking styles of her mother and a sister, who also died young. It sold more than 300,000 copies in Britain alone, establishing her budding career (per Twisted Food).

The domestic goddess also says that cooking at home doesn't have to be a show-stopping affair like it might be at a fancy restaurant, and it's always been important to her to emphasize that in her work. "Every recipe I've cooked over and over again in my own kitchen, and each time I do it I can make it simpler," she told Broad Street in an article hailing her as a "home cook hero." She added, "That's my connection with people. I cook at home in the same way as my readers or my viewers do at home."