Nigella Lawson thinks parents are under too much pressure to behave like children’s TV presenters in the kitchen.

The TV chef, 50, told the Radio Times that when she was taught to cook by her mother and grandmother their culinary efforts were seen as a chore – but it did not stop her learning the ropes.

Today’s parents, she suggested, mistakenly believed that they had to make cooking ‘all fun and recreational’.

Nigella said: “My mother was a great believer in child labour. From quite a young age, five and six probably, my sister and I would be propped up on rickety wooden chairs and put to work.

“I think there was a different view of childhood then – we were expected to be useful to our parents. So we were trained up very early and we all took turns cooking my father’s (former chancellor Nigel Lawson’s) breakfast.”

The mother of two added: “Nowadays, I think parents sometimes feel they have to get into children’s television presenter mode and make cooking all fun and recreational, whereas we were just required to help get a meal on the table.

“It just felt normal. I didn’t realise I was learning to cook.”

Nigella, whose new TV series Nigella’s Kitchen is about to be shown on BBC2, admitted that she does ‘not cook seven different things in a week’ and that her teenage children, Cosima, 16, who is known as Mimi, and Bruno, 14, eat a lot of pasta.