A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Nigella Lawson at Chatelaine Magazine’s new test kitchen. The first thing I noticed was her incredible presence (ok fine, and stunning complexion.) She chatted about her work, family and new cookbook for while. She was friendly, smart and incredibly talented. The fact that she can do all that while wearing calf-clenching Louboutins was most certainly secondary.
So I was taken aback reading Toronto Star’s food reporter Michele Henry article on Ms.Lawson this weekend. The entire article was crafted in this backhanded, completely unnecessary physical description of Ms.Lawson. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. Here are some excerpts:
“Food Babe” ….”a hurricane of hips, boobs and hair, whips up a sexy pasta dish in the Star’s test kitchen on her whirlwind book tour” …. “bites her bottom lip” …. “with the stealth of a schoolgirl up to no good”….”lops a loop of fabric off her curve-hugging purple dress.”….“The microphone got caught in my dress,” she explains, batting her eyelashes coquettishly as if to make amends for doing something naughty.”…..”A hurricane of hips, boobs and hair, the British food babe tosses her head and unwraps her black wool coat. It slinks off her shoulders like a dressing gown, instantly transforming the culinary space into a boudoir and underscoring why she’s famous for making food sexy.”….. “Lawson sets her famously ample bottom into a chair so a makeup artist can smooth the winter’s kink from her appearance.”
Nigella Lawson is stunning. She is also wildly talented in the kitchen, a point which is completely absent in this article. I was curious if Ms.Henry made a habit of irrelevant reporting so I took a peak at a few other articles. A few months earlier, she had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Dean Pettit, owner of Rock Lobster Food Co. And this guy has a beard, which automatically qualifies him as ruggedly handsome, no? Um, but no. Just this:
“He places it down on the cooking island and bravely scoops up a flailing crustacean”….”He’s well-versed in what it takes to market a successful brand”….”Pettit has more energy and enthusiasm than the throngs who crowd his stands demanding lobster rolls”….”the 33-year-old former rugby player”….”Pettit looks the part of chef-in-charge when he strides into the Star’s test kitchen this week carrying a cardboard box bearing lobsters”
Spot the differences? I am generally all in favour of lascivious conversation (Ask my husband. And my boyfriend.) but it just seems really cheap to thrust this onto a food article and call it reporting.
Luckily for me, I cook so infrequently, my kids are grateful just to get food, so it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever have the pleasure of being interviewed by Ms.Henry but good lord, if I do, someone please remind me to grow out my ample chin hairs in advance.
Seriously, am I bonkers or is this article irrelevant and unnecessary?