Thirteen-time cookbook author and “microwave” pronunciation expert Nigella Lawson returned to Melbourne following speaking engagements in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

While in town, the honorary Aussie stopped by George Calombaris’s Hellenic House Project in Highett for a dish she described as “fondant-rich potato cakes anointed with dainty dollops of dill-flecked taramasalata”, and chef McKay Wilday’s Alta Trattoria in Fitzroy for “the perfect Sunday lunch in Melbourne”.

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But what is it like to cook for culinary royalty? Wilday says he was in the kitchen working and had no idea Lawson was about to walk into the restaurant. “She just showed up for Sunday lunch,” he tells Broadsheet.

While the chef didn’t drop over to say hi – “I’m a little bit shy” – he was happy that Lawson ordered the tajarin (ribbon pasta) with rabbit ragu. Wilday says the tajarin been on the menu since day one, and it’s a dish he’s particularly proud of.

Cooking for a food-world personality as influential as Lawson might sound nerve-racking, but for Wilday, “it’s any person’s dream.”

Read our round-up of where Nigella Lawson ate in Perth last week – and what she ordered.