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Nigella Lawson collaborates on Soho House dinner at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

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Bestselling cookbook author Nigella Lawson collaborated with Soho Beach House executive chef Sergio Sigala on this sophisticated dinner of Lawson's recipes that included burrata with pistachios, farro risotto, lamb meatballs, lamb ribs and salted chocolate cake. Guests were also able to take home signed copies of her latest book, "Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food" and party favors of a wooden spoon and kitchen towel. 

Our Grade: B. (Would go back next year, with improvements)

What worked: The atmosphere in Cecconi's covered courtyard was wonderful as usual with romantically lit trees and black-vested servers working together seamlessly to keep glasses filled and courses coming out. If anything, it seemed like just another night at Cecconi's that Nigella just happened to stop by. Wines for the night were courtesy of Santa Margherita and worked well with the hearty Italian food, especially the Chianti Classico Riserva (pictured), a nice change from the brand's wildly popular pinot grigio. 

What didn't work: The sense that something special was happening. As an accomplished author and host, Lawson could have imparted more of her personal touch and content to the event. She gave a short intro that didn't really do much to set the tone and then proceeded to sit at her table for most of the meal. Around the end of dessert she graciously made her way around the room chatting with guests and patiently posing for pictures, but we all know she has so much more offer than fodder for selfies. A little info about the dishes, their inspiration, why she chose them, etc., would have gone a long way to creating a meaningful experience for diners who paid $250 a person.

Best thing we ate: The lamb meatballs. 

Quote of the night: "Her skin is like porcelain." (referring to Lawson's dewy complexion)

Craziest thing we saw: Honestly, this was one tame event.

BY SARA LISS | sara@brandplug.com

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