Nigella Lawson dazzles at Invercargill dinner gallery video

NICOLE JOHNSTONE/FAIRFAX NZ

Nigella Lawson entertains Southlanders at a book signing in Invercargill on Tuesday.

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."

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Nigella Lawson laughs during Paper Plus book signing event at H & J Smith in Invercargill on Tuesday afternoon.

Hafsha Abdul-Jabbar, 11, of Mokotua, has her cook book signed by Nigella Lawson at Paper Plus Invercargill on Tuesday.

A large crowd gathers in the foyer at ILT Stadium Southland ahead of Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

Nigella Lawson laughs during Paper Plus book signing event at H & J Smith in Invercargill on Tuesday afternoon.

Amelia, 14, Paige, 11, and Megan McKenzie, all of Invercargill, read Nigella Lawson's book as they wait to have it signed.

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson visiting Invercargill.

Melissa Tyson and Jodi Remi at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

Bronwyn Sadler, of Invercargill, has her book signed by Nigella Lawson after a two-and-a-half-hour wait at Paper Plus Invercargill on Tuesday.

Bronwyn Sadler, of Invercargill, with her book, signed by Nigella Lawson, at Paper Plus Invercargill on Tuesday.

A large crowd waits for celebrity chef Nigella Lawson to arrive at Paper Plus Invercargill on Tuesday.

Bronwyn Ward, Morgan Shepherd, Ruth Shepherd and Alicia Smith at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

Sisters Bindi and Jo Sharp, both of Invercargill, at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

Laura Downing, holding Phoebe Gilchrist, 4 months, and Layla Gilchrist, 2, all of Perth, took time out from visiting family in the south to have their book signed by Nigella Lawson.

Andrea Dalton, Allen Ngakai, Terry Laidlaw, Colin Keane and Aaron Mills at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

A large crowd waits for celebrity chef Nigella Lawson to arrive at Paper Plus Invercargill on Tuesday.

Jan Jennings and her daughter Lizzie Jennings, both of Invercargill, at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

Monique Shirley, Catherine Brown, Sue Watt and Renee Morgan, at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

Brooklyn Chalmers, 8, and Mahalia Chalmers, both of Invercargill, get their books signed by Nigella.

Vickie Hiini, Roy Sutherland, Charmaine Sutherland and Kathryn Ladbrook, at Simply Nigella in Invercargill on Tuesday.

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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."

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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.

Loving NewZealand! Have touched down on the South Island. Time to try a cheese roll before my booksigning at 2.30 at Paperplus #Invercargill See you there!

Posted by Nigella Lawson on Monday, 25 January 2016

"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.

Afternoon tea at The Batch Cafe, Invercargill: plum and honey-lemon cake, caramel slice, coconut lemon slice; the plum, honey& lemon won!#batchcafe #Invercargill #newzealand

Posted by Nigella Lawson on Monday, 25 January 2016

The line of devotees clutching their cook books nearly spanned the length of H & J Smith as gasps rang out around the room.

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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.

Live Blog Nigella Lawson entertains Southland at corporate event
 

"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.

 - Stuff

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