Even Nigella can’t handle the standards set by reality cooking shows.

Reality cooking shows have a lot to answer for when it comes to humble cooks like us … and Nigella Lawson.

Wait … domestic goddess Nigella???

Well, yes. The celebrity cook has spoken out against The Great British Bake Off, saying her cooking is too “homespun” for the show. In fact, she doubts she’d even make it onto the hit program in the first place.

She told Radio Times in the UK, “I wouldn’t get on Bake Off, it’s too complicated. I like baking in a homespun kind of way – if I make cookies, I don’t expect them all to look the same. I’m not being modest; I’m a home cook.”

Nigella Lawson's double choc-chip cookies.

The Great British Bake Off has become a huge hit in the UK with an average of 9 million viewers.

The Australian version of the show debuted on the Nine Network in 2013 and moved to Foxtel’s Lifestyle Food channel for season 2 this year. However other Australian cooking shows continue to conquer ratings including My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef.

Phrases such as “plating” and “technique” - which formerly had no place in any decent Aussie kitchen - are now thrown around by lay people who once had better things to worry about than the “consistency of serving sizes” and their “balance of flavours”.

John's incredibly complex Heaven and Hell cake won series 3 of the Great British Bake Off.

Nigella Lawson has never called herself a chef. Just like our beloved Julie Goodwin, winner of season one of Masterchef, she considers herself a home cook and more from the Julia Child’s school of thought, where food is to be enjoyed, technique doesn’t have to be perfect and the only thing that matters about the finished product is that it is delicious.

Lawson has labelled recipes used on Bake Off as being “too complex” and the desserts produced by contestants as being “too fussy”.

We have to agree. Sometimes you want your chocolate cake without vegetables, and your biscuits without foaming. Leave that stuff to the notorious Heston Blumenthal, celebrity chef and producer of books too beautiful to splatter cake batter on and too complex to ever attempt.

In the current series of The Great Australian Bake Off, contestants have been tested on their cake technique and their ability to produce 12 identical biscuits by hand. We’ve seen a pumpkin éclair and creative desserts that go far beyond the good old lamington, cupcake and honey joy.

Reality cooking shows would do your head in if you believed amateur cooks could come up with some of the dishes they serve. The reality is far different. Contestants are more than just amateur cooks. They have to demonstrate some ability to even be chosen to compete on the show and during their time filming they continue to learn and practice until they can produce dishes that could compete in some of the world’s best restaurants before collapsing into an exhausted heap.


While your average recipe takes up three quarters of a page, those on Masterchef look like a post-graduate thesis.

Masterchef winner Billie McKay created "Strawberries with Cider, Goats Cheese, Grapeseed Oil Cake and Strawberry Sauce" as a dish on the show.

My Kitchen Rules tries to stay more true to the amateur cook claim but still manages to intimidate once it relocates to Kitchen HQ, where you could be mistaken for thinking you’ve accidentally landed on American reality show Top Chef (which at least says it like it is).

Nigella Lawson is about to release her 10th cookbook - Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food. She says her new TV show Simply Nigella will stay true to her philosophy that cooking (and eating) is for pleasure and nourishment.

She says her public trusts her and that becoming a pretentious chef focused on perfection and complexity would damage that trust. "I feel that trust is sacred,” she explained “I would never abuse that. Part of it is that people know how limited my skills are.”

White Chocolate Mousse with Spiced Pomegranate Syrup is about as simple as desserts on cooking shows get.

Lawson likened shows like Bake Off to circus acts.

“I don’t take myself seriously enough," she said. "There's a circus act element, which really makes me cringe. I'm not actually a performer."

Watching Nigella makes you want to lick the cake mix bowl and sneak downstairs for a sneaky spoonful of pasta. Watching her makes you want to eat. Shouldn’t that be the goal of cooks and chefs and “food technicians”?

While our beloved Nigella Lawson may not stand up to the likes of the British version of the show, she could certainly give some of the contestants of the Aussie version a run for their money. Let’s see how some of the cakes on The Great Australian Bake Off compare to Nigella’s TV creations.

Click through the gallery to see how Nigella's baking compares with The Great British Bake Off contestants'. 

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