Hailing from a prominent family – her father Nigel Lawson served in Margaret Thatcher’s government – Nigella Lawson was born in London in 1960. Unlike most chefs who started their culinary careers early in their lives, Lawson started as a journalist and would later become a celebrated food writer and television host.
In addition to writing for such publications as The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, Lawson won the coveted title of Deputy Literacy Editor at The Sunday Times before she began to combine her love of food (she has been quoted as saying she has no culinary qualifications except her love of eating) with writing.
Her first success as a food journalist came when she published her first book, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food in 1998, which went on to sell a million and a half copies worldwide. She followed How to Eat with How to be a Domestic Goddess in 2000. The Guild of Food Writers named her sophomore effort the “Cookery Book of the Year” the year after it was published.
Lawson is also the author of Forever Summer and Feast: Food That Celebrates, Nigella Christmas, and Nigella Fresh. Her books have sold an estimated six million copies worldwide.
The popular food journalist has also earned her fair share of critical acclaim. The British Book Awards named her 2001’s Author of the Year and Bon Appetit crowned her Tastemaker of the Year in 2002. The WH Smith Book Awards honored her book Nigella Biteswith the Lifestyle Book of the Year award in 2002.
In addition to her writing, Lawson made the successful leap into television, hosting several of her own shows, including Nigella Bites, Nigella Express, and Forever Summer with Nigella. Lawson currently has her own show, Nigella Feasts, which airs on The Food Network. She also introduced her own line of cookware in 2003.
Lawson has also logged an impressive list of television appearances in the United States in the last decade and a half. Her notable television appearances include Iron Chef America, Top Chef, Live with Regis, Rachael Ray, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Who Do You Think You Are?, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Late Show with David Letterman.
With her high profile, Lawson is fodder for the tabloids, which can be brutal, in the United Kingdom. In May 2003, she earned the distinction of making the 100 Worst Briton List, coming in at number 90, as voted by Channel Four viewers. She also is reported to have turned down the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), given by the Queen, in 2001.