Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson brought star power to a special café this week — with the help of her niece, Domenica Lawson.
Like her peers in the newly opened café, Domenica — who is the late Princess Diana’s goddaughter — has a learning disability. (She was born with Down syndrome.) She and 20 others are the first to take part in Team Domenica, the innovative social enterprise charity founded by Domenica’s mom and Diana’s friend, Rosa Monckton. The charity
aims to prepare young people for work and help place them with employers.
On Wednesday, Lawson led a cupcake-decorating workshop at the café in Brighton on England’s south coast.
“It was fantastic,” Monckton tells PEOPLE. “There were a lot of sugar highs at the end of the day! The atmosphere was brilliant. Nigella was a complete star.”
And Lawson (whose brother Dominic is Domenica’s dad) clearly had fun too, tweeting pictures of the delicious treats.
“I’d like to get a celebrity chef every couple of months to come down and do a masters lass in the café – it’s only going to be grab-and-go food to begin with until we work out the capabilities of our students,” says Monckton.
A month or so since the cafe and training center opened their doors to Domenica and her peers, “it’s all going really well,” Monckton reports. “Candidates are now beginning to make food for the café.”
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“We started with teas and coffees and now the lemon drizzle cake’s coming downstairs and the rock scones and to see the pride in their faces and the excitement when someone buys a piece of lemon drizzle cake is just fantastic.”
“The café and training center is going well and the curriculum enrichment element in the afternoon are fantastically good as well,” she says.
And she’s proud of all the candidates. “We have such a wide range of abilities and everybody is finding their level and finding something that makes them feel good about themselves.
“We are starting to speak to potential employers who are going to take them in on supported internships.” Beginning in November, the group will have six candidates placed in local businesses.