Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a one-man food phenomenon at just 35. Beginning his career in his parents’ pub, The Cricketers in Essex, UK, the cheeky “Naked Chef” was hard at work peeling potatoes at the age of eight. By the age of 11, he says he could chop vegetables “like a


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He’s dedicated his life to helping us create fresh, healthy and delicious food. He has his own magazine, Jamie, a slew of best-selling cookbooks, DVDs, cooking products, iPhone apps and restaurants around the world, such as the Fifteen
restaurants in Melbourne, Amsterdam and London. He has also built a charity, Fifteen Foundation, which trains disadvantaged young people to become chefs. He is ­undoubtedly one of Britain’s most famous and influential exports.

When he’s not busy tackling the Western world’s atrocious eating habits, he’s devoting time to Jools, his wife of ten years, and daughters Poppy, 8, Daisy Boo, 7, and Petal Blossom, 1. When we spoke to him, he was recharging his batteries before the birth of their son, Buddy Bear Maurice.

RD: How do you feel about childhood obesity with a new baby on the way?

JO: It’s a huge worry. Whenever I read new obesity figures from the UK, Australia or anywhere, it just gets scarier and scarier. And there’s a simple solution, which is to make sure that kids get taught basic food and cooking skills in schools so they can feed themselves and their families. That doesn’t mean the end of treats or takeaways – we all love those from time to time. The problems creep in when “treats” become “every day” and when processed foods and takeaways replace cooking.

RD: You started out as a chef but now you are trying to improve the world’s eating habits. Can you explain the leap?

JO: I don’t really see it as such a big leap because even with The Naked Chef programmes, I was trying to inspire people to cook and trying to explain that cooking was fun and easy and could really help save you money. It’s no secret that in my perfect world, everyone would know how to cook from fresh and be able to shop intelligently so that they save money while cooking up brilliant food.

RD: Do you feel that you are making a difference?

JO: Very much so. Every day, I either get e-mails from people whose kids are doing
better at school
because the food at lunchtime is helping them concentrate in the
afternoons, or from people who have learned to cook through the Ministry of Food centres and have lost weight and saved money as a result.

RD: How do you cope with everything when you’re having a bad day?

JO: To be honest, I’m quite easygoing and I’ve got a great team of people working with me, so I don’t often have a bad day. If something goes wrong, I’ll just go home, talk to Jools about it and move on.

RD: What drives you, what keeps you going and who inspires you?

JO: I’m inspired by all kinds of things, especially on my travels. I’m always learning from other cultures, other cooks. That’s why TV series like Jamie Does… and Jamie’s American Road Trip are so great to do because I get to be inspired everywhere I visit. In terms of what drives me, I suppose it’s the same thing as it’s always been: to make good food accessible and fun to
everyone, whether through books, TV, restaurants or food products.

RD: What do you do to relax or treat yourself?

JO: I’m just the same as anyone else – quiet nights in with the wife, watch a movie, have a glass of wine, play with the kids, see friends. Normal stuff.

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