Nigella’s New Italian Food App Leaves A Bad Taste [Review]


Turns out Nigella quite likes Italian food
Turns out Nigella quite likes Italian food

Co-inciding with her latest TV series, Nigella Lawson’s latest foodie app, Nigellissima is now on the App Store. The theme is simple, delicious Italian food. Nigella, as always, makes amazing dishes look effortless.

The new app is free, but huge, demanding 750MB of storage space on your iOS device. That would be OK if it was packed with useful content. But it’s not.

The Nigellissima app is much more about Nigella herself than it is about the food she creates. Understandable to an extent; after all, she is her own brand. Like any celebrity, she has to market herself to sell her products. Sadly, I think the balance is wrong this time. The app comes with just nine recipes, and lots of filler material.

If those nine recipes leave you wanting more, you’ll probably find your way to the app’s built-in Nigella store. There, you’ll find links to a huge range of Nigella’s published works. If you want the full Nigellissima, you’ll be directed to the iBooks Store where you can buy it. Don’t forget to watch the videos of Nigella explaining, with a smile, what inspired and influenced her to make this app. And the Social Feeds section, where all of Nigella’s Facebook, Twitter and blog posts are conveniently aggregated for your Nigelleration.

It’s too much. Even though I admire Nigella for her culinary expertise, this app leaves me cold. It’s overcooked, and overstuffed with inducements to buy. It’s little more than a glorified 750MB advertisement.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

We’ve reached a point where the App Store is just another shop window for celebrities to fill, just another box for them to tick while they build up their brand awareness in the pre-Christmas months. This app is little more than a vehicle to promote other products, and it feels like one too.

Perhaps I sound overly critical, and if so I apologize. I’m exasperated with the system that pushes apps like this to the fore, not with the app itself, or with Nigella Lawson.

I quite like her recipes. I’ve got a copy of Nigella Express on the kitchen shelf and refer to it often. She’s a master of good, simple, no-fuss cooking.

My advice is: don’t bother downloading Nigellissima. If you want the book, grab it directly from the iBooks Store, or buy a paper copy that will last better in your kitchen anyway. If you want recipes, grab Nigella’s Quick Collection apps for iPhone or iPod, each one of them reasonably priced and stuffed with useful recipe ideas. They’re much more useful.