Oliver is on a mission. His mission is to change the way families
eat and he believes we've lost our way when it comes to the fundamentals
has passionately held views on the state of the nation's nutritional
requirements and is determined to get the message across that it's
easier than we think to revolutionise the way we eat.
beliefs reinforce his overall aim to foster a healthier society
by making the right choices about our food.
uses a friendly, informal style in his cooking books and he feels
that this is key to their success. He said:
think standing there and preaching is the wrong thing to do. What
is the right thing to do is to have this seamless knowledge of food
that makes you smile, makes you laugh.
people, they switch off when they're being told something. If they're
suggested what to do, they might just bear it in mind.
my wife works very much like that. For years and years she cooked
things and, because it was my trade, there were blatant things she
did wrong. I was say something and she'd get right upset. I learned
a great technique which is called lying. It's really quite effective.
I did was I lied when she cooked the next dinners. I said they were
perfect and what happened was, she got really pleased and happy.
She felt good about herself and what happened over the next month
was that she came to me and asked questions.
you talk to someone and they say they hate cooking it's because,
if you trace it back, they feel they were no good at it. Anyone
who feels they're no good at something will avoid it like the plague."
grew up in a village in Essex. His home was a pub and he lived around
the various ingredients that cooks use. Jamie explained how this
helped his career in cookery to come about:
lived in a pub and my downstairs was a washing-up room and a kitchen.
I spent my youth was around whole venison, crabs, lobsters, filleting
reason that my old man has been slowly but surely successful at
what he does that he always does the same - local food, not too
posh but something you do a little more than at home - and this
was my front room.
cooking there and I remember one time when I realised it was special
was when I cooked a Sunday lunch for the family. I remember my old
man saying 'well done, son. That's really good' . He was a lovely
man, my dad, but that was the first bit of approval with regard
to doing something really well and I felt really happy, really chuffed."
original 'Cheeky Chappie'
rise to celebrity chef status was meteoric. He became a favourite
on television with his programme The Naked Chef. It catered for
all ages, and his informal style and 'Cheeky Chappie' persona were
an instant hit. He said:
was 21 and I'd never, honestly, thought about doing telly or having
my words published. I never prepared myself for doing anything like
this, it was completely out of the blue.
think I got it just right. Cheeky Chappie - say what you like, I
was! I was 21 and within one week my book went to number four. The
television show got the highest ratings for a cooking show on BBC
2 ever and what did I know? I was just cooking and having a laugh.
the years I got married, I've got two beautiful little kids - I've
has been visiting primary and secondary schools across Britain during
2004 to get the important message about good nutrition across to
kids. With the proliferation of fast food chains targeting children,
Jamie feels that it's vitally important to educate them on the virtues
of eating the right things. He said:
we could just click our fingers and go back to the 1950s, that was
the time when nutrition was considered to be the cogs of the country.
Now it's all about profit and loss and there are no cogs of society
we get into politics you'd think there would be some basic, fundamental
things that Great Britain needs to function and food is important.
the 1950s food was important. But what's happened since then is
the responsibilities have changed and there're no more nutritionists
like there were back then. Our babies, the future of our nation,
are now being brought up on crap.
what we're left with now is the youngsters of Great Britain being
the laughing stock of Europe. They're the most unhealthy, obesity
is quadrupling and we're really chasing up behind America very,
has done a lot of research into the food we're feeding our children
in school and he's not happy about what he's seen. He feels we're
pandering too much to the whims of children rather than giving them
what they require in terms of nutrition. He explains:
you go to any kid and any level, let's take secondary level, and
say 'Right. English. Kids, what do you want to read today?'. Certainly
from my experience as a teenager I would have read Viz comics or
porn. That is not what we give them because the government and the
teachers know better. You're going to open your mind, you're going
to read Shakespeare and there's a theory why we're learning this.
Same with maths.
at lunchtime what are you going to give kids? Well, kids want chips,
burgers, funny shaped reconstituted, mechanically reclaimed stuff
with all sorts of e-numbers in them. Of course that's what they
want. Do we give it to them? Yes.
that kind of comprehensive theory behind lessons doesn't follow
through at lunchtime. It's like a forgotten part of school."
Jamie having two kids of his own, he's become very aware of what
they're eating in the modern world. He said:
made the mistake of cooking around them. That's absolutely the wrong
thing to do. Now I cook for all of us but I don't season it with
salt and stuff. Then I split theirs off and finish mine with chilli
them along them along to the farmers' markets where I show them
the different kinds of food like oranges, raspberries, blackberries.
It's kind of like brainwashing them!
get them to try different things too, just a finger tip of sugar,
salt and what have you. I tried a little bit of chilli once and
that was when Jools [his wife] gave me a rollicking!
bringing kids up around food really helps to educate them. I also
think eating around a table is very important. It's the one time
when you all sit down together and just talk.
if you've got time, getting kids involved in cooking in some way.
Get them to do a job that gives them a little ownership like adding
some spices or squeezing some juices onto the food."
no doubting that we, as a nation, are getting fatter. Maybe the
dietary changes that Jamie is talking about in conjunction with
a little exercise could prove to be the vital combination in making
us all healthier.
are more tips and advice for healthier living on the BBC's
Fat Nation website.
Oliver was interviewed on stage at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature
on Tuesday 12th October 2004.
about Gloucestershire festivals