‘Recipes chart my life’, Nigella tells JW3

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

‘Recipes chart my life’, Nigella tells JW3

Nigella Lawson at JW3 

Photo: Alan Pitchforth
Nigella Lawson at JW3 Photo: Alan Pitchforth
 Nigella Lawson at JW3  Photo: Alan Pitchforth

Nigella Lawson at JW3
Photo: Alan Pitchforth

According to Nigella Lawson, creating a new recipe book is like penning a novel, writes Louisa Walters. “You get an idea, it evolves and eventually all the ideas come together,” the celebrity chef told a 300-strong audience at JW3 on Monday. 

“My recipe books chart my life. Looking at them is like looking at a photo album – with each recipe I remember where I was when I created it and what else I ate with it. Cooking is a form of connection and in this way I connect with elements of my past.” 

Nigella, 55, was talking to journalist Sam Baker from online magazine The Pool as part of the Alan Howard Foundation/JW3 Speaker Series. She recounted her early days in the kitchen with warmth and wit. “When I was a girl I was often called on by my mother to help her in the kitchen – she was a great believer in child labour! She made a lot of sauces and she used to put my sister and me on wobbly chairs to stir things over a very high heat!”

Nigella’s place is most definitely in the kitchen. “When I travel abroad I don’t like staying in hotels because then I have no reason to shop for food, so I usually rent an apartment,” she said. “When I’m uprooted from the kitchen I feel a bit disconnected.”

Nigella recalled her maternal grandmother being a religious follower of recipes, whereas she likes to cook with spontaneity using the ingredients she has in the kitchen.

“I create the dish and try it out before I write the recipe. I never write recipes that you would need to have gadgets for – I like to think everyone is able to make my recipes and I have no desire to use something like a sous vide machine.”

So whose recipes does she follow? “I find Claudia Roden inspirational, especially her inventive use of of ingredients, but food writer Stephanie Alexander is the one whose books I turn to the most.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: