Monday, 12 February 2007

Why I love (and hate) Jamie Oliver

He’s a tough one, that Jamie. I can never seem to decide if I love him or I hate him. I’ve been watching the new show Jamie at Home, and I can’t decide if I am more irritated by the obvious staginess of the whole thing (see below) or if it is just some good old fashioned, ill-disguised jealousy. So I was thinking I should make a list. Lists always help to make the tough decisions easier. As you can see here, I found more reasons to hate him than to love him (and you could probably come up with a whole lot more yourself). Either way, I always watch him. Can’t drag myself away from the TV. I’ve even got some of the old stuff on video and I own heaps of his cookbooks (mostly gifts, but I use them often). So although on a rational level the bad outweighs the good, he still seems to be winning. Perhaps love really is blind.

Reasons to love J.O.
1. Ten(ish) years ago, he brought cooking to masses of people who thought it wasn’t very cool (let’s face it, Delia isn’t really the most happenin’ spokesperson of all time). Of course, this might also be a very good reason to hate him.
2. He gives kids who’ve had a bit of a rough trot a go in his kitchens around the world. Despite the marketing value of Fifteen, you can still admire its mission.
3. Jamie’s School Dinners was brilliant. There was something incredibly satisfying about seeing a bunch of kiddies go from not being able to identify an onion to saying, “Erghh!” at the sight of a chicken nugget.
4. His first two books have great tasting, accessible recipes and pretty pictures. Have you tried that salad with peach, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella? You should. Yum.
5. He knows what he’s good at and has a crack (metaphorically. Well and physically, obviously, but that wasn’t the crack I was referring to). Kudos for having the balls to go for it.

Reasons to hate J.O.
1. Happy Days, Dead Puckka, Lovely Jubbly, etc. I needn’t go on.
2. The live shows. I went to one (I know). It was like a cross between Rent and Ready Steady Cook.
3. Jools (sic). Do you remember her banshee-like declaration that she would allow, “Nothing to spoil her perfect family!!!!!!” Scary. Not to mention the fact that her tits are plastered across many a double-paged spread in the ‘cookbooks’.
4. This one’s for my husband. The drumming, the band, that load-of-shite song that they used for the outro of series 2 of The Naked Chef. Stick to what you’re good at, mate. There’s a reason you’re a celebrity cook, not a celebrity musician.
5. He tries to make is seem like he does all the prep himself when you know for a fact that he has about 50 researchers, food sourcers, and kitchen hands slaving for him. Three minute fish stew? I think not.
6. Have you seen the new show? Jamie at Home. The name (not to mention the pretend ‘Jamie’s garden notes and doodles’ they use for each segue way) suggests that it’s just him and the fam, pottering around the English countryside, selecting a bit of this and that from the kitchen garden for their High Tea. The veggie garden is absolutely amazing, and totally organic, yet so far only one gardener (other than Big J himself) has appeared on camera. It’s just been the J-man, kitted out in his stylishly askew gardening outfit (including trendy beanie. In the middle of summer. I ask you!) and some gorgeous little antiquey things adorning the shabby chic ‘pieces’ behind him in the kitchen. Nobody has that much vintage, coloured enamel gear on display, let alone in use in his kitchen. Except perhaps Donna Hay. I suspect that even the dirt under his fingernails has been put there by a stylist.
7. The biggest problem of all, of course, is that he basically acts like a bit of a knob (a ‘pucking wanker’ puns my clever husband). I’d like to know what the people who have worked with him really think.

Make up your own mind and visit his site

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Shaun said...

Oh you! leave our Jamie alone :p

Shaun said...

I meant to say 'Oi!' bugger.

Anna said...

Yeah, yeah. I s'pose you have to be patriotic about him when you've got so few options.