Chef Nigella Lawson blocked from travelling to US

3rd April 2014, Comments 0 comments

The United States invited British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson to reapply for a visa on Thursday after she was blocked from entering at the weekend, reportedly for her admissions of cocaine use.

A spokeswoman for the US embassy in London declined to specify why Lawson had been barred from flying from Heathrow to Los Angeles on Sunday, after a newspaper report linked the incident to the chef's past drug use.

But the spokeswoman suggested the 54-year-old "Domestic Goddess" should visit the embassy to reapply for a visa, saying any request would be dealt with "routinely and expeditiously".

Lawson admitted last year to taking cocaine and cannabis in the past, as she appeared as a witness in the trial of two former personal assistants who were later cleared of fraud.

British police reviewed Lawson's evidence but announced they would not be bringing any charges.

In a front page story on Thursday, the Daily Mail tabloid suggested the chef was stopped from flying because of her admission of drug use.

The newspaper said that Lawson, who split with wealthy art dealer Charles Saatchi in a bitter and public divorce last year, had checked in at Heathrow airport but after passing security was told she could not board the plane.

The US embassy spokeswoman confirmed Lawson was unable to fly but declined to say which for privacy reasons.

"There are several ways of legally travelling into the United States and Ms Lawson has been invited to come to the embassy and apply for a visa for travel to the US," she said.

"We understand she has professional requirements for US travel and these matters are generally handled routinely and expeditiously, so stand by."

Lawson's publicists declined to comment on the incident, which risks complicating the mother-of-two's starring role in US cooking talent show "The Taste".

The US has strict immigration laws regarding those with convictions or who have been arrested but officials can also exclude those who have admitted to illegal acts even though they have not been punished by the law.

But it was unclear why Lawson might be barred now, given that she has already travelled to the United States since the court case in December.

The celebrity chef, known for the sensual manner in which she samples food, said she had used cocaine with her late husband John Diamond when he was dying of cancer, and later during a difficult time in her relationship with Saatchi.

© 2014 AFP

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