MANILA -- British culinary icon Nigella Lawson hates to be called a celebrity chef. Instead, Lawson, who is also dubbed the "Domestic Goddess," insists her main qualification is that she is an eater.
And that's exactly what she did during her visit to the Philippines.
“I have eaten more than any human being should able to eat, while I’ve been here. It’s one of my gifts,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday at Enderun College to launch the Contadina line of Del Monte Foods.
Contadina, an Italian word which translates to "women of the fields," seems kismet with Lawson, who is synonymous to everything earthy and sensual about food from the moment her show, "Nigella Bites," launched in 1999 and captured the attention of foodies around the world.
During her stay in the Philippines, Lawson said she has tried four different kinds of adobo (three of them in one night), and other Filipino favorites like sinigang, sisig, menudo, tocino del cielo, and a dish she described as noodles cooked in a shrimp broth, which is most likely pansit palabok.
“I was obsessed with adobo even before I got here,” Lawson admitted.
Lawson shared that she is always wary in attaching her name to any brand. Before agreeing to be the brand ambassador of Contadina, she said she tested and used all their products in every way to ensure that it met her standards.
“I’ve always mentioned this in my TV shows — maximum flavor, for minimum effort,” said Lawson. “Just because you’re short on time, it doesn’t mean that you have to be short in flavor.”
Contadina sources products all around the world: olive oil from Hojiblanca olives from Andalucia, Spain; Roma tomatoes from California; durum semolina wheat for their pasta from Canada; and pasta sauces manufactured by a family concern in Italy.
“I believe in using products sourced by people who love it as well,” she added.
During the launch, the versatility and adaptability of the Contadina products were showcased in a cooking showdown from celebrities Daphne Osmena-Paez, Stephanie Zubiri, and JP Anglo.
With the guests divided into culinary teams to back-up the three, each team cooked a Lawson recipe using Contadina products, with Anglo's team winning the challenge for a squid pasta dish tweaked with Asian flavors.