A New Nigella or Just More of the Same?

Kim Conte

baking made easyModel-turned-TV chef Lorraine Pascale has burst on the culinary scene with a new BBC show and accompanying book, Baking Made Easy, and subsequently is being called the "new Nigella" (referring, of course, to legendary British chef and TV personality Nigella Lawson).

And I can't for the life of me figure out why.

From what I can gather, here's what the two TV chefs have in common: They're both beautiful. And, they're both British. But that's pretty much where the similarities end.

Lawson is a self-taught cook who started her career as a restaurant critic before getting her own cooking show in 2000. Since then, she's had a variety of cooking shows and cookbooks focusing on both sweet and savory comfort food classics. 

Pascale, on the other hand, studied at the International Culinary Arts in Pastry and worked in some of the most renowned kitchens in the world. (This is, of course, all after she modeled and was the first black British model to make the cover of American Elle.) Her focus, if you couldn't tell from her show and book, is baking.

See? They couldn't be more different.

I wonder if perhaps the viewers' insistence on conflating the two is because, when it comes right down to it, so many of the cooking shows starring female chefs are all starting to seem the same?

The format is practically ubiquitous by now: perfectly made up gorgeous female chef, equally gorgeous kitchen, flirty shots, using sexual innuendo when describing food with varying success.

Everyone's doing it: Giada, Sophie Dahl, Laura Calder (on the Cooking Channel), and now Lorraine. It's a meme that Nigella, queen of food porn, made a success but perhaps now -- 10 years later -- has either been taken a little too far or at least run into the ground. I love these women. I love their recipes. But their format is starting to tire me!

Do you think all cooking shows with female chefs are starting to look the same?

Image via Amazon.com

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