Chef Jamie Oliver

Chef, author, television host and champion of healthy eating Jamie Oliver is known for his food philosophy.

Born in Essex, England in 1975, Jamie’s passion for food was cultivated in the kitchen of his parents’ restaurant. After completing his culinary training at Westminster Catering College, Jamie eventually came to work at the River Cafe in London, where he made his first television appearance in a documentary about the restaurant. He made quite an impression, and not long after the documentary aired, he was offered his own television show “The Naked Chef.” The concept behind “The Naked Chef” was to strip food down to its bare essentials and Jamie’s hands-on style and general laid back outlook was like a breath of fresh air, inspiring everyone to cook and winning himself a BAFTA Award for the best television series in the Features Category in 2000.

Jamie spent much of 2009 in the USA, first making a series for Channel 4 (and overseas markets), “Jamie’s American Road Trip,”  during which he visited Los Angeles (meeting Mexican ex-gang members who are being rehabilitated through food and cooking), Wyoming (where he spent time with cowboys living in a wilderness that has barely changed for centuries), New York (where he strayed from the typical tourist areas to discover delicious food from the Peruvian, Colombian, Egyptian and Chinese communities), Louisiana (hunting alligators and helping to get a restaurant damaged by a hurricane back on its feet), Georgia (investigating soul food and the southern of barbecuing) and Arizona (where Jamie spent time with the Navajo people and learnt about their food and culture). An accompanying book, Jamie’s America, became Jamie’s 10th best-seller.

“My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way,” Oliver said. “Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright!

“Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don’t eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards. Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you. And because you’ll be cooking a variety of lovely things, you’ll naturally start to find a sensible balance. Some days you’ll feel like making something light, and fresh, other days you’ll want something warming and hearty. If you’ve got to snack between meals, try to go for something healthy rather than loading up on chocolate or potato crisps. Basically, as long as we all recognize that treats should be treats, not a daily occurrence, we’ll be in a good place. So when I talk about having a ‘healthy’ approach to food, and eating better I’m talking about achieving that sense of balance: lots of the good stuff, loads of variety, and the odd indulgence every now and then.”

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