It was only a matter of time before one of the major networks put a food competition show on the air that followed a similar format to American Idol and The Voice. The formula works, especially when the judges are good. Here we are this week after The Taste made its broadcast debut, and the people of ABC are looking pretty damn smart. Anchored by Anthony Bourdain and today’s Friday Fives guest, Nigella Lawson, the network looks like it’s got a good one. We’ll surely be tuning in every Tuesday night at 8pm ET.

For those who aren’t familiar, Nigella is a massive celebrity across the pond in London, and all throughout Europe for that matter. She’s easily the most successful home chef in that part of the world, and she’s built an impressive personal empire of cookbooks, cookware, and iPad Apps. She’s like the Giada of the UK, only with more sass and somehow even more impressive TV cleavage. But it’s really her swagger that makes her stand out. Nigella is a woman who owns her curves, speaks the truth, and cooks really good food. That’s our kind of girl.

We’re honored to have Nigella write up some of her favorite NYC restaurants for Friday Fives today, and look forward to watching her on The Taste this winter.

To keep up with the latest on both Nigella and her new TV show, follow her on Twitter and “Like” The Taste on Facebook.

Nigella’s “Perfect For” Picks


Grand Central Oyster Bar (87 E 42nd St.) – “At Grand Central Station, to misquote Elizabeth Smart, I Sat Down and Ate. American oysters are very different than those we have my side of the Atlantic, and this beautiful vaulted room is the place I come to for ostracine overindulgence.”

Serious Take-Out Operation

Dirty Bird To Go (204 W 14th St.) – “The minute I check into my hotel when I arrive in New York, I’m on the phone with Dirty Bird To Go for a very non-English fix of Buttermilk-dipped fried chicken, sautéed garlic kale, and smashed potatoes and gravy.”

Quality Fish

15 East (15 E 15th St.) – “This is the sushi joint of my dreams – serene, well-lit, calm, and purveyor of the most exquisite sashimi, sushi, and assorted delights of an ocean-originating nature.”

Full-On Pork Indulgence

Momofuku Noodle Bar (171 1st Ave.) – “If I could (I dream…) I’d charter a plane specifically to bring me here to eat the best Pork Buns you could ever imagine. By pork buns, don’t think char siu style, but hamburger-style sandwiches filled with squivering slabs of pork belly with hoisin and cucumber.”

Small Plates

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto (283 Amsterdam Ave.) – “Agreed, I’m not generally a less-is-more kind of a gal, but the small plates that emanate from Cesare Casella’s kitchen (notably an incredible lasagne) make me strangely happy to be sitting at a tiny table in a not particularly pretty deli.”

Best Possible Burger in the Best of All Possible Burgers

Minetta Tavern (113 MacDougal St.) – “Just sitting here typing, thinking about the Black Label Burger at the Minetta is making me drool. You might think 26 dollars is a steep price for a burger, but this is a burger like no other – made from an exclusive blend of aged prime rib – and the best $26 you could ever spend.”

Nigella’s Twitter People

@Mariobatali – Frankly, you can learn more about food from Mario’s tweets than you can from most people’s books. Plus he’s clever and funny: that does me.

@BetteMidler – Well, why wouldn’t you? I love the Divine Miss M for reasons to obvious to have to point out, but (minus the food) see @Mariobatali, above.

@AlbertBrooks – I revere this man. My crush is so deep, I find myself tongue-tied and cannot say more.

@qikipedia – …on the basis that you can never have too much useless information.

@TheTasteABC – This my work-family Stateside: I love these guys; I love the show; it figures…

Also Check Out