It took nearly six months of preparation, but famed British cook Nigella Lawson is finally calling Australia home as she joins a new My kitchen rules.
Speculation has swirled in recent weeks that the troubled cooking show co-host gig could go to Lawson, 62, after arriving in Melbourne last month for the international food and wine festival.
An industry insider said The new daily in December that Nigella would be chased to sit at the table alongside chef Manu Feildel, describing her as “cutting edge” with a “mass market” appeal.
And on Sunday, the Seven network confirmed she had landed the job, with fans taking to social media shortly after to express their joy at the nomination.
“Finally I now have a reason to watch the show,” wrote a fan on Nigella’s Instagram.
“Well MKR you got me back, as long as you avoid nasty drama and talk about cooking,” another wrote.
Nigella “satisfied” to be back on our screens
Lawson, who published 12 cookbooks and hosted her own shows as early as 1999, wrote she was “delighted” to be returning to Australia for the show.
“It’s official! I’m very happy to say that I’m back in Australia soon,” she said on Sunday.
“And, if I can borrow an Australian term, I’m happy!
“Going to a restaurant can be a treat, but for me the real story of food is told through the cooking we do at home,” Lawson said in a Seven statement.
“So having the chance to champion home cooks and having the intimate privilege of being invited into people’s homes to eat their food fills me with gratitude and excitement in equal measure!
“I also look forward to working with Manu.
“Although he is a chef and I am a home cook, the fact is that we both want to eat good food. I feel I have a lot to learn from him, but just know that we will have a lot of pleasure in the process.
“Lovely Nigella Lawson by my side”
With disgraced former co-judge Pete Evans falling into obscurity after spreading anti-vaccine messages and unproven COVID-19 treatments (for which he was hit with hefty fines), the Seven Network says the season 2022 from MKR will resume the show “back to the original recipe” and with only six couples.
Seven’s managing director, James Warburton, said news.com.au at the end of last year, he was confident that the redesign of the series, which would take it away from “gossip and bitches”, would be successful.
“He was dominant for a decade, people loved it. So we bring it back with a short, precise stroke. We showed what we can do with The voiceso we’re confident it will work,” Warburton said.
“It just chased a certain direction in my personal view. I kind of came on board as the last two seasons were about to air, but it drove away the bad guys, the gossip, the bitches, and all that kind of stuff.
“(There were) really extended dinners. We had blasted it up to 60 episodes, so it was a massive commitment.
Manu loves the new combination.
He said he was looking forward to sitting next to Nigella at the dining table.
“I am very happy to be sitting at the head of the MKR table and even happier to have the lovely Nigella Lawson by my side.
“Like MKR judges, we are the perfect team with our years of experience in professional and domestic kitchens respectively. And as lovers of good food and a fabulous dinner, I can promise you that we are going to have fun too. Bring it on!”
MKR started in 2010 with 10 teams and by the sixth season, 18 teams were competing for the $250,000 prize.
The show won a Logie d’or in 2014 for best reality TV show, but its ratings have plummeted and its fans have deserted it in recent years.
Allegations of bullying, cheating and dating – as well as Evans’ association with the brand – hurt the cooking element and the last show aired in March 2020.
Fast forward to today and before Chef judge Matt Preston was confirmed as third MKR co-host, with celebrity chefs Colin Fassnidge and Curtis Stone to return as guest judges.
But for now, it’s all about Nigella.
“Awesome. Hopefully this show will be about food again. Last season was horrible, nobody wants to see mafs [Married At First Sight] like a drama,” one fan wrote.
“Welcome to our screens and shores!” said another.
“I’m sure you (Lawson) will bring warmth and positivity (as you always do) to the show so that the focus is on the food rather than something more trivial.”
My kitchen rules is currently in pre-production and will air later this year on Channel 7 and 7plus