I know this recording was made some time ago, but it still bowls me over as our Jamie, an Essex boy, discovered by-chance, in 1997, when a documentary-maker was filming at Antonio Carluccio’s restaurant Neil’s Yard. At only 18-yrs old Oliver was working as a pastry chef, and just happened to be covering someone else’s shift that night as fate would have it, but he made an impression which swiftly lead to his own BBC television series The Naked Chef later the same year.
In retrospect Jamie Oliver was at the beginning of the TV Chef trend and has without doubt made an impact, partly due to his cheeky-chappy personality, his relaxed manner in front of the camera, and his slap-dash approach to food we eat on a daily-basis.
He grew up during those series, cooked for his friends, then his girlfriend Juliette came into the picture although they’d been together since he was 14. They married and started a family of four girls. And we observed his natural manner taking it all in his stride, mostly, but considering he was growing up under the public glare, with a very camera-shy wife they seemed to cope very well.
Jamie Oliver Philanthropist
It’s easy to see how his ethos for helping others started, because there it was right from the word GO he was all about community! Firstly, we observed him recruiting for the restaurant from a group of school-leavers who’d already been written off by the education system but out of teaching these kids to cook grew Fifteen the restaurant where customers could observe their food during the cooking process in the capable hands of Jamie’s successful recruits.
There was a competitive edge as he took on the best of the bunch at the end of the series. Very new age indeed, with a mixture of reality television thrown together with youth welfare, and the nation loved it and it’s 10-yrs since that happened.
Jamie’s School Dinners
Then in 2004 he got involved in the School Dinner programme at the Kidbrook School in Greenwich where he single-handedly took on the school-meals system. One of the most surprising things was that young children couldn’t identify vegetables, which helped demonstrate the issue, rather poignantly.
This culminated in Jamie taking a petition to the Prime Minister of the time, Tony Blair, to press for change, as he’d identified the underlying causes of poorly constructed menus consisting of cheap fast foods, with little nutritional content and how they could be competed against using better produce to ensure that kids at least got some healthy nutrients into them, and the importance as for many families this would be the only part of the day it occurred.
Jamie Oliver Motivator
Changes were made and it inspired others along the same lines, locally there’s a lady who herself took on her local authority and won the school-meals contract due to her passion for the quest and a concern for her own children’s welfare.
It’s well known that Jamie Oliver has always fed his children with fresh, seasonal produce, and this clearly puts fire in his belly for the subject.
In 2010 he took his School Dinners quest to the Huntingdon in the USA, and met with similar resistance from within the school meals service, but again he won them over, and again he met with much resistance from within the service, the schools and the local authorities.
Jamie Oliver Entrepreneur
Jamie Oliver is an entrepreneur with a prolific output of books, kitchenware, television cookery shows and campaigning self-penned documentaries, people love or hate him. He can come over as high-and-mighty, but he appears to live by what he asserts and for all his foibles at heart he is a rock-steady family man walking the talk.
Do I dislike him because of the incredible success he’s made of his business, not me, I think his heart is in the right place and making change often requires a smidgeon of arrogance in order to grab the public’s attention, and his passion for each project he takes on is only too clear, so well done him.
His cookery book Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals challenges the commonly held misconception that we no longer have enough time to cook healthily these days. It’s on special offer at Amazon, have a look inside and see what you think.
I’d love to hear your views.