Food writer Nigella Lawson has denied reports she had a ‘steamy’ affair with a lemon risotto. The allegations are made in the News of the World, which claims to have photographs, transcripts and recipes to back up the claim. Lawson has become renowned for her flirtatious manner of cooking, with tabloid journalists dubbing her the ‘queen of food porn’.
‘I have never been inappropriately intimate with any of the dishes I have worked with,’ she said. ‘Sure, I like to have fun in the kitchen as much as the next girl, but I keep things strictly professional. The risotto in question was moist, rich and dripping with flavour, but I kept it covered from the moment it came out of the oven.’
Lawson then slowly ran her tongue around her bottom lip and added, ‘It’s the only way to keep its… juices… intact.’
The risotto, which cannot be named for legal reasons, is thought to be a zesty lemon dish, which Lawson even introduced to her family at one point.
A spokesperson for Lawson’s husband, art patron and advertising guru Charles Saatchi, said. ‘Charles is very upset, particularly at the thought of Nigella and the risotto sharing the family kitchen. He just has to picture them together – her with her flawless skin, voluptuous body and cascading brown hair and the risotto in a shallow dish, sticky to the taste and barely covered with a light garnish.’
According to the newspaper report, Lawson and the risotto ‘romped’ at a hotel in Norwich over the Xmas period, while her family believed her to be filming a ‘farmhouse special’ for Channel 4. A fellow guest described hearing the clattering of pans and lip-smacking coming from their room.
Lynn Berry, a food and relationship expert, commented, ‘People have been quick to blame Nigella, but the risotto is hardly innocent in all of this. The kids weren’t around; Charles was off buying some overpriced piece of nonsense and any red-blooded woman would be tempted to seek out some comfort food. We’re talking about a hot, Italian dish that probably goes down quicker than a baby in a flume.’
However, chef Gary Rhodes believes Lawson sets a bad example for young cooks. ‘I don’t think a married woman with young children should be provocatively rubbing a glazed ham on national television,’ he said. ‘And she followed that by basting a chicken in a manner so lascivious that it wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Thai knocking shop. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Even on the tenth or eleventh viewing I couldn’t help but feel it was one of the most shamefully erotic scenes every to appear before the watershed.’
Lawson, meanwhile, has appealed for privacy. It is believed she has gone away to avoid the media glare, stopping off only briefly at home to pick up some butter, rosemary, Arborio rice and an unwaxed lemon.
5th February 2010