CHEF Nigella Lawson is set to share her cooking wisdom with the public at a live show.

Following the release of her latest book Cook, Eat, Repeat, the food writer and TV cook is due to take to the stage at the Brighton Dome on Wednesday, November 24.

Cook, Eat, Repeat offers a combination of recipes with narrative essays about food.

Ahead of the show, Nigella has shared her views on lockdown, the upcoming tour and cooking advice.

How was lockdown for you?

“I am so aware that I am incredibly fortunate. Yes, of course this has been an anxiety-provoking time for everyone, but I had a roof over my head, a bit of outdoor space, food on my table, and work that I could do safely at home.

“I’m also very lucky that I enjoy solitude – so even though I spent several months alone, I didn’t ever feel lonely.

“Of course, it was hard not to be able to hug my children, but so many people really suffered, either with their health, facing their own illness and death, or that of those they love, and struggled to make ends meet, or had to risk their well-being by going to work, so I am just inordinately grateful.”

How long did it take to put Cook, Eat, Repeat together?

“It’s hard to say exactly how long it took, because an essential part of writing a book (for me) is spent not writing it.

“I don’t really know how many months I spent letting it simmer gently on the back burner. In terms of actual work, I’d chosen the themes of my chapters, and I did most of the recipe testing and retesting in 2019.

“By the beginning of 2020, most of the recipes were still scribbles in my kitchen notebook, and needed to be typed up, which is not a straightforward process, as I often find I’ve left something crucial out of my notes, and so need to start testing all over again.

“Or, as I write the recipe, I get an idea for another related recipe, and so rush down to the kitchen to start all over again.

“In the course of writing, I had to rejig the book quite a bit. I dumped a chapter on entertaining, which was called How To Invite Friends to Supper Without Hating Yourself, replacing it with Much Depends on Dinner about family suppers.

“I think the period of really solid writing took about four months.”

How did you choose which recipes to include?

“I wish I could tell you that there is any process at play here, but I just go on instinct. Of course, because of the title of the book, a lot of the decision-making was obvious: I chose recipes that, in one form or another, I return to often.

“But within that, I feel I just know in my heart which recipes clamour the most to be included. And as I started to realise that not everything would fit in, I have – and this is a bit of a regular step in all my books – what I call a Choose It or Lose It session.

“I select the recipes I can’t live without, and make sure they have the right home within the book’s structure, and then I see whether the recipes that remain on the list actually still belong in the book, and where they would go in it. If I can’t find the right place, it’s bye-bye.”

Is Cook, Eat, Repeat a recipe book or a memoir?

“Well, as I have said before, for me, the recipe form is a highly-charged autobiographical form, so I don’t feel that there is a distinction to be made between memoir and recipe book.

“And I certainly feel that Cook, Eat, Repeat blends the two forms from the get-go.”

Do ever-changing food trends have any impact on your recipes?

“I’d like to say no, but I think it’s probably impossible to be entirely innocent of fashion and fads, even if I am not conscious of them as I write.

“And so many of the recipes in this book are ones that for me have stood the test of time, or are actually at odds with current trends.

“But we are all children of our time, and so it’s inevitable that one will be influenced to some degree or other by the flavours, cuisines, and ingredients that are part of the culinary landscape as one writes.”

At what point in your life did you realise that your love for food was going to become your career?

“I think I was probably on to my fourth book before I realised this was going to be my career. I thought, when I embarked on it, that my first book was going to be a one-off, but other ideas then bubbled up with each following book, and I just went with it.

“It still can seem a bit odd to me – in a wonderful way - that this has turned out to be what I do. But I love it, and feel anyway that most of the important things in life aren’t planned.”

If you hadn't followed a culinary path, what career path might you have chosen?

“Well, I was 38 when my first book came out, and had been working as a journalist since I was 23, so the food writing path was already the other path.

“It’s not that I never wrote about food during that time, but I was predominantly a non-food journalist. I was the deputy literary editor of the Sunday Times when I was 26, then went freelance, writing about the arts and doing book reviews, and I then became a columnist for the Evening Standard, then an Op Ed columnist for The Observer and then The Times, and did freelance pieces on all sort of subjects.

“And indeed, I carried on being a journalist for quite a few years after I began writing food books.”

What do you enjoy the most about interacting with your followers on social media?

“I always answered questions about my recipes on Twitter, but once we went into lockdown, I really felt that more was needed, and so began answering general questions about food and ingredients – what could be made with whatever the person had to hand, or how to substitute ingredients someone couldn’t get hold of for a particular recipe.

“In a way, you could say it’s time-consuming, but one, there’s nothing like writing a book for making one keen to do other things. And two, I really valued the connection, and I still do.

“And reading people’s posts, seeing the food they’ve cooked, brings me so much pleasure.”

What are the ingredients that you couldn't live without?

“I’m afraid the idea of any restriction on what I eat fills me with panicked horror, so this is a game I just can’t play.

“Having said that, I know that I couldn’t be happy in a kitchen without anchovies. Or a world without rhubarb. Or without lemons, Maldon salt, smoked paprika, thyme, olive oil, butter, bread, cheese.

“Well, I could go on and on. The true list would be just about endless.”

Are there any ingredients that you'd happily live without?

“Well, I’m not mad on green bell peppers, but even so I wouldn’t like to rule them out forever. Who knows? I might suddenly fall madly in love with them.”

What are your three top tips for hosting a successful dinner party at home?

“Wear flat shoes, or none at all; don’t do starters; and make sure there is enough on the menu that can be prepared in advance so that the evening isn’t made stressful by having to get everything ready as people arrive.

“And if I may add a fourth - remember that not everything has to be piping hot and ready at the same time.”

What can we expect from your live tour?

“This tour is really about the part food – and certain recipes – have played in my life, and that’s as much about the emotional resonance of food as flavour.

“I will also cover the to me very important theme of cooking for oneself. And I will certainly be talking about why I hate the term guilty pleasures.”

What’s your favourite thing about being on tour and being back on the road?

“I always love meeting readers, and talking to them, but now it has a particular significance since the pandemic has made this impossible to do for too long.

“I think there is a very intimate relationship between a book and its readers, which I cherish.”

Tickets for An Evening With Nigella Lawson at the Brighton Dome are available on at or on 01273 709709.