Nigella Lawson dazzles at Invercargill dinner
It turns out celebrity chef Nigella Lawson isn't a fan of sultanas in rice puddings and she was once a custard monitor before she was stripped of her title for "brandishing it like a weapon".
Among her pearls of wisdom she dolloped out in Invercargill on Tuesday night, Lawson says food it not only fuel but it's about sharing an occassion with someone.
Commenting on Southland, she said: "The warmth of everything and the nature makes me feel at home. What I see in New Zealand is my approach to food. It's about grabbing what's out there."
Entertaining a crowd of more than 500 at the ILT Stadium Southland, Lawson said: "I couldn't cook for this huge room. But when I can put food on the table that tastes good and makes people feel welcome and feel good. That's great."
* Nigella Lawson charms fans in Auckland: 'It's lovely to be here'
* 6 things Nigella should do in New Zealand
* Nigella's posh toast recipe sparks outrage
* Nigella tries to roast a lettuce, gets roasted herself
* 5 times chef made headlines for all the wrong reasons
Keeping the room engaged, Lawson kept revealing her likes and dislikes, and you'll be pleased to know like most Southlanders, her go to meal is either a a classic roast chicken or her mother's braised chicken.
"For me in the kitchen, handling food is my way of convening with nature."
Southland foodies will be dining out on the day they met Lawson for years.
Earlier in the day, hundreds packed into an Invercargill department store for the chance to share an intimate moment with the celebrity chef at a book signing on Tuesday.
The line of devotees clutching their cook books nearly spanned the length of H & J Smith as gasps rang out around the room.
The crowd hummed with people commenting on Lawson's beauty and her pleasant nature as she took the time to say a friendly "hello" to everyone getting their book signed.
Bronwyn Sadler, of Invercargill, took her place at the front of the line about 12pm - two-and-a-half hours before the celebrity chef was due.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out," she said.
Her patience and forward thinking paid off, and she was the first to have her book signed after Lawson took her seat.
Sadler said all she really wanted was to see Lawson in person and to say it was nice to meet her.
"I'll be dining out on this for years."
Crowds gathered around the table to nab a photo and some even attempted to take a selfie with Lawson in the background.
While lines stretched from entrance to entrance, some just came to sneak a peak at Lawson.
Michelle Mason stood near the signing table while her brother lined up with a book.
"I just came to put a real face to the name," she said.
"You don't get a lot of famous people down here so you have to make the most of it."
Lili-Mae Lawlor, 12, could not wipe the grin from her face as she held her newly signed book close to her chest.
"Nigella is a real inspiration and one of my favourite chefs. She helped me become a chef," the girl beamed.
It was very exciting to meet her and she had never met anyone famous before, she said.
"She said hello and said my name was pretty. She's really nice."
Lawson didn't take long to sample Southland cuisine, dining on her first cheese roll ahead of the signing session and later enjoying afternoon tea at Invercargill cafe The Batch, taking to social media to talk about both.