Jamie is one of the world’s best-loved television personalities and one of Britain’s most famous food experts. He is much-admired for his earthy style and his continual dedication to getting people and animals to enjoy a better quality life, whether through campaigning for healthier eating or promoting animal welfare.
He has had huge success with his television series’ The Naked Chef, Jamie’s Kitchen, Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie’s Great Italian Escape, Return to School Dinners, Jamie’s Chef, Jamie at Home, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, Jamie Does…. and more recently Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals and the Emmy Award-winning Jamie’s Food Revolution. His programs have now been broadcast in over 100 countries including the USA, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Japan and Iceland. The accompanying cookbooks are bestsellers not only in the UK but across the world. His 2010 book, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, became Jamie’s first million-selling book in the UK as well as being the fastest-selling non-fiction book since records began.
Jamie Oliver took an early interest in food; he grew up in Essex, where his parents run their own highly respected pub/restaurant and Jamie was frequently found helping out in the kitchens. His fascination for food continued to grow and at 16 Jamie left school and completed his training at Westminster Catering College. After spending some time working in France, followed by Antonio Carluccio‘s Neal Street Restaurant, London Jamie joined the acclaimed River Café where he worked for three and a half years alongside Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.
It was there where he was noticed by the BBC in 1997 after making an unscripted appearance in a documentary about the restaurant, “Christmas at the River Cafe”. That year, his show The Naked Chef debuted and his cookbook became a number one best-seller in the UK. That same year, Oliver was invited to prepare lunch for then Prime Minister Tony Blair at No. 10 Downing Street.
Jamie spent the autumn of 2001 taking his cookery show on the road – the Happy Days Tour was a huge success with over 17,000 people packing theatres in the UK. The tour then took in Australia and New Zealand, where Jamie played to sold out crowds in seven cities.
Jamie’s School Dinners was motivated by the poor state of school dinners in UK schools; Jamie went back to school with the aim of educating and motivating the kids and dinner ladies to enjoy cooking and eating healthy, nutritious lunches rather than the processed foods that they were used to. Jamie launched a national campaign called Feed Me Better and launched an online petition for better school meals. As a result, the government pledged an extra £280 million to improve the standard of school meals, to provide training for dinner ladies and equipment for schools.
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The high street restaurant collection ‘Jamie’s Italian’ is hugely popular across the UK and the Fifteen restaurant group which he founded in 2002, provides training for young people in three locations around the world as well as producing food of the highest quality. Jamie’s newest restaurant, Barbecoa in London, is a partnership with American chef Adam Perry Lang. Jamie lives in London and Essex with his wife, Jools and his kids, Poppy, Daisy, Petal and Buddy.
A chef, restaurater, A-list international celebrity, bestselling author, national campaigner, motivational keynote speaker and an MBE at the age of 28, all add up to make Jamie Oliver a brand in his own right.