Would you Adam and Eve it! Me and that Jamie Oliver have quite a lot in common you know. He's called Jamie. I'm called Jamie! He's a chef, and so iz I! He's got a dodgy Barnet, and as me mucker is always sayin', so ‘ave I! He's a Salt of the Earth type, well, I'm just briney!
No Celebrity Chefs were injured in the writing of this article
He reckons yeah, get this right, you can knock up a pukka seafood pasta from scratch, yeah, for sixty pence! Just grab a few essentials from the farmers market on yer manor on yer way home from work or the library, bish, bash, bosh, and Roberts your favers bruvva!
And the reason them poor don't is that they iz lazy, fick and blew the grocery dosh on some big “fucking” [sic] TV! That's why them poor iz obese? Teach 'em to cook, with the help of Jamie's new book and new show o'course, and it will all be sweet as. Just need a plan to promote it…….. Mate! Contra-fingy-me-bob! A wind up. You’re ‘avin a giraffe! Classic.
Enough of my poor attempts at mockney geezer patter! That cheeky monkey Jamie Oliver has been causing a stir this week with [depending on your degree of cynicism] a bit of a PR faux pas? Puppet or muppet, you decide. I will declare my hand now, for the price of 4000 books donated, one for each library in the country, by way of an apology for his misunderstood comments [ahem], he has bought the equivalent value in exposure tenfold. Jamie is no mug. This is the part I find unpalatable. Very important social issues have been hijacked and trivialised for personal gain.
Dumb luck or carefully planned, Mr Oliver is back on the radar and for him that means cash in the bank. I can imagine the PR meeting. How will we suck them in? “Just be yourself Jamie.” My favourite was this one.
“I meet people who say, ‘You don't understand what it's like.' I just want to hug them and teleport them to the Sicilian street cleaner who has 25 mussels, 10 cherry tomatoes, and a packet of spaghetti for 60 pence, and knocks out the most amazing pasta.”
There has been a less than orderly queue of people ready to have a pop back, either by design or default, all justified. Even if you are tempted to feel sorry for this “mis-understood” savour who in his sweeping statements managed to brand the nation stupid, lazy and obsessed with big tellies at the expense of feeding their children, don’t.
“In this country, if you have an opinion or you’re even just a bit enthusiastic, you’re halfway to being bloody annoying to a lot of people”
Jamie Oliver 2012
He gets plenty of that already. Even from himself. The only fawning statement missing from this PR kerfuffle was some journo chucking in “even Jesus was misunderstood when he tried to preach his gospel” although an opinion piece in The Independent didn’t miss by much.
Let’s face it had it been a rich MP saying these things he would have been summarily executed by the press.
Harder to understand is the man’s brass neck. Oliver has previous for this type of behaviour, and arguably more of a “do as I say, not as I do” approach it seems. He also has a reported £150m fortune and a very selective memory. Here are a few reminders.
As an advocate of cooking meals from scratch and using local produce, many were surprised when it was revealed that the sauces used in Jamie's Italian in Glasgow were from an industrial park almost 400 miles away in Bicester in 2011.
“The fascinating thing for me is that seven times out of 10, the poorest families in this country choose the most expensive way to hydrate and feed their families. The ready meals, the convenience foods.”
If only there was someone we could look to for leadership we cry? Someone we can trust? Strange considering his relationship with Sainsburys reputedly earned him £1.2m per year for 11 years helping to sell food seven times more expensive in some cases than value brands? He’s more “robbing da hood” than Robin Hood, arguably complicit in the demise of independent local stores to the benefit of big supermarket chains, making his utopian vision impossible.
Maybe it’s wrong to say he lacks perspective, £150m in the bank can do that to the best intentioned individual. Remove the spin and all you are left with is Jamie Oliver has a new book and tv series out. Please watch and buy the book. Watching and buying will make him richer.
“You go to Italy or Spain and they eat well on not much money. We've missed out on that in Britain, somehow.”
Think they called that The Industrial Revolution Jamie, somewhere in the past, back to where you want us to take our working conditions it seems.
Maybe he’s right. What do you think?