Believe it or not, Laura Zilli actually thinks that the reigning goddess of culinary television, Nigella Lawson, is a ‘glutton.’ As if that is not enough, she also believes cookbook author Sophie Dahl to be an “amateur.” If model Zilli had her way, every women in the world would look like a million bucks while stirring a pot of stew in her kitchen. With this thought, she is all set to threaten the reigning goddess of culinary television, Nigella Lawson’s position in the kitchen. Skeptics would think that she is talking too much but one look at her credentials and you would realize that not all of it is hot air.
Laura is the gorgeous daughter of celebrity chef Aldo Zilli and at 26 years of age, she has decided to put a comma to her modeling career and follow in the footsteps of her illustrious father. While explaining the need to enter kitchen while still in the prime of her modeling career, Laura says, “I’m the only one among my friends who can cook and it drives me insane.”
It was one of her friends who inspired Laura to turn to her father’s career choice. She explains, “The idea (to cook) came after my flatmate said she was popping to Waitrose to buy a pasta sauce. So I taught her how to make her own out of tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. It was a revelation to her – far more sexy than a miserable microwave dish or a readymade sauce.”
Her show is called “The High Class Cooker” and she also has, to her credit, a book by the same name. It is believed to be based on the format of the popular television series, “Sex and the City.” However, Laura takes pain to clarify that her show would be sans any cheesy tactics, a la Lawson and Dahl. Laura won’t play with her olives nor will she lick her fingers. She explains, “My show won’t be salacious. It will show people it’s possible to cook in your Jimmy Choos and prepare a three-course dinner, yet still look fabulos by the time your guests arrive.” Taking further her obsession with looking good while standing over a gas-stove, Laura says, “Each recipe will tell you exactly when you can leave the pans bubbling and slip off to do your make-up and change into your glamorous clothes, right down to which outfit to wear for each meal.”
Another model, rather supermodel, Sophie had earlier tried to dethrone Nigella from her status as the supreme queen of culinary voyeur but she fell short. Would Laura go the same way that Sophie went? Well, if you read her words, you wouldn’t think so. Laura pitches herself vis-à-vis Nigella, “Nigella’s dishes are often full of butter and cream. She uses lots of fatty ingredients, but while I also use full-fat products, my cooking is far more refined. After all, no one wants to be fat.” No one, really!
After casting a snook on Nigella’s culinary expertise, Laura doesn’t seem afraid to take on another rival in modeling, and, now in cooking too, Sophie. She speaks of Sophie, “And Sophie has no real background in food. I don’t really understand why she had her own cookery show. If being a former plus-size model makes you an authority on food, then so be it, but I don’t really get it.”
Leaving all competition behind, Laura is hell bent on making her culinary outing on television a roaring success and to get herself started she will cash in on her family’s Italian connection. She says, “We spent the whole of every summer over there (in Italy). Dad and one of my aunts taught me to cook, and how vital it is to use fresh ingredients from the garden. Dad taught me how to cook eggs as soon as I could walk, and pasta sauces not long after.” In saying so, Laura admits that she is also a “chip off the old block.”
Laura is every bit her father’s daughter and she has no qualms in admitting to it. About that, she says, “We’re both perfectionists who are passionate about food. He’s really critical of everything I do. I wish he’d at least say, ‘Well done.’ But he’s not going to give me that yet.” That may be because Chef Aldo arrived in London from Italy when he was just 19. However, by the 80s, his Soho restaurants had started catering to celebrity guests like George Michael, Freddie Mercury, and Naomi Campbell. Laura grew up amidst the party lifestyle that her parents were leading. But that is not all. She even learnt some valuable tips from her accomplished father, like cooking eggs, and pasta sauces.
In a way, Laura has kept very high hopes of this television show, as she says that in case the show is a success, she would get into the restaurant business just like her father. Laura’s show High Class Cooker as well as the book will be out later this year. Although, it is still time before Laura can hope to enter herself in the league of top celebrity chefs. Till that is confirmed, you can catch all the dope on Laura at her website, which will launch next month.
Image Courtesy: thegroomingguide.com, susancaplan.co.uk, noskinnywomen.files.wordpress.com