Christmas with Nigella not as ‘perfect’ as on TV show
Sisters dish up the dirt on Lawson
LONDON: On screen and in the pages of her best-selling books, Nigella Lawson professes to spend hours cooking up the perfect Christmas, baking home-made festive treats for family and friends.
But the reality was very different from her “brand”, her former housekeepers have claimed.
She never made a mince pie and even allowed caterers to cook the Christmas lunch, according to Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo.
They said the Domestic Goddess hired a team to decorate her Christmas tree, and re-used cookie decorations.
The Italian sisters were last week cleared of £ 695 000 ( R11.9m) credit card fraud against Lawson, 53, and her former husband, Charles Saatchi, 70. They said that instead of cooking family meals, she left it to them to make her children’s food and then hired a chef to do all the cooking.
Francesca Grillo, 35, said: “Christmas wasn’t as perfect as on her cooking show. I never saw her make a mince pie or Yule log at home. She might have made a pudding once.
“We’d have a tree delivered then Nigella got a team to decorate it rather than do it with the kids.
“One year she made cookies that were hung on the tree with ribbons. They were put in a drawer and used year after year. She never made fresh ones.”
The sisters, whose trial at Isleworth Crown Court laid bare the glamorous Lawson’s alleged secret drug abuse, disastrous marriage and chaotic lifestyle, said she was happy to “slob” around the house in tracksuits or an “old granny” dressing gown.
Lawson admitted in a recent interview to being “terribly lazy”, and Elisabetta said: “She wasn’t always this glamorous goddess. At 5pm she’d strip off and just wear a dressing gown – not a sexy, silky one like on her TV shows; it was an old granny gown.”
In 2011 Lawson hired a chef named Elio to help out while she recovered from an operation. “I cooked for the children and as they got older they’d make microwave meals, pot noodles and order takeaways,” Elisabetta added.
“Charles was picky, so Elio stayed on doing parties and holidays for a long time. I think Charles preferred his meals to his wife’s.”
Lawson, who was divorced from Saatchi in July, claimed he used the court case to “destroy” her reputation.
She also hit out at her “malicious” treatment in the witness box. Over two days of evidence, she was forced to deny she was a drug addict after confessing to having snorted cocaine and smoked cannabis.
Her former assistants, who admitted lavishing huge amounts of her money on themselves, said Lawson let them spend what they liked in return for keeping her alleged drug use a secret from her “shouty” husband.
Lawson categorically denied she was a habitual drug user, but the trial has dented her wholesome image. On Christmas Eve Lawson tweeted a picture of her table covered in red cloths and yesterday her spokesman claimed she was hosting 30 people for Christmas dinner.
In her book Nigella’s Christmas, she said she spent a “brutal” five-and-a-half hours cooking up the perfect turkey, with trimmings such as butternut orzotto, panettone and Italian sausage stuffing.
But Francesca added: “She would make lots of money with her shows and books at Christmas, but someone else often made the dinner. Remember, she was just a brand. Real life was different.” – Daily Mail
BRANDED: Nigella Lawson was a ‘slob’, her ex-housekeepers told a UK court.
CLEARED: Francesca, left, and Elisabetta Grillo arrive at Isleworth Crown Court in west London.
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