Nigella Lawson on The Taste. Picture: YouTube screenshot

London - America has been given a flavour of Nigella Lawson after the celebrity chef made her debut appearance on a new US cookery programme.

And she seemed determined to persuade viewers to come back for seconds – flirting, pouting and posing her way through the first episode of The Taste.

Miss Lawson has followed in the footsteps of other British stars such as Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan by joining the judging panel of a US reality show.

Looking slimmer than ever in a low-cut red dress, the 53-year-old spent the first episode flirting outrageously with French judge Ludo Lefebvre, who admitted he had long been an admirer of hers. Producers at ABC were apparently just as keen to play up to her siren status, closing Tuesday night’s programme with a bizarre off-camera moment in which Miss Lawson can be heard telling fellow judges: ‘I might take longer because I think they want to change my underwear – just to warn you.’

In The Taste, the judges – who also include American celebrity cooks Anthony Bourdain and Brian Malarkey – have to pick a team of aspiring chefs, who then compete against each other in the kitchen each week.

So far, Miss Lawson – whose fellow judges are, unlike her, all trained restaurant chefs – has emerged as a champion of home cooking, often stressing her preference for ‘comfort’ food.

But this has received a mixed response from critics. The New York Times said Miss Lawson’s ‘British accent and mock propriety are counterprogramming to Mr Bourdain’s American slovenliness’, but added that her cheerleading for ‘home cooking’ is done ‘with a regularity and sameness that quickly becomes off-putting’.

Elsewhere, broadcasting industry bible Variety magazine noted that ‘while everyone might eat, the broadcast potential of those interested in analysing cooking at this sort of granular level remains far less proven’. - Daily Mail