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Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too, Jamie!
by Robin Bailey
by Robin Bailey
know this is probably a little lazy of me to write about someone so
ridicule worthy as Jamie Oliver, the man, lets face it is an easy target.
Well so I thought. Following his ‘Jamie’s Kitchen’ programme
I was expecting the nation, like me, to have seen through his pseudo
altruism and haul him over the proverbial (barbeque) coals for cashing in
on a so called ‘worthy’ cause. Obviously not. He was been hailed as a
saint, the savior of the ASBO generation; a role model for all those under
privileged kids and all round good egg (pun intended).
Now he has saved all our children from becoming obese or dying
before they are 18 from turkeytwizzleanitis, it has put him up there with
the likes of Mandela, Mother Theresa and Geldof
(well before he did Live8). Much as people are sick of seeing his
contorted visage almost everywhere and hearing his passé mockney
’colloquiums’, he is still seen as a very noble and generous hearted
soul. So why is it that I see him (obviously outside of being an annoying
idiot) as a very disingenuous, narcissistic, and fraudulent individual?
never bought the whole Jamie's Kitchen thing from the start. It smacked
blatantly of giving the flooded arena of TV cookery programmes a new
twist. What would be better than pleasing the middle classes than seeing
some ‘fine food’ mixed with a healthy dose of social commentary and
the amelioration of societies woes, all in one?
Maybe I am wrong and Jamie may have been having sleepless nights
worrying and perseverating over the plight of the ‘underprivileged
kids’. He may have over
breakfast, stated to his dog loyal wife Jules that the world outside was
just not ‘pukka’ and maybe he should give the starving, hopeless and
homeless kids of
is also extremely patronising about this venture is this annoying concept
of underprivileged kids. From what I remember a great deal of these kids
were far from ’underprivileged’, some from quite well to do
backgrounds, something they had in common with Jamie. I do not remember
him visiting Toxteth, the Gorbals, or Moss Side to recruit his apprentices
for the show - that would have been too real. What has he actually offered
these kids? The chance to become a chef? Pre-Jamie was it that hard to
become a chef? No in fact it’s pretty easy, you either go to catering
college and then work your way through the ranks or you miss out catering
college and work your way through the ranks. You do not need a TV chef, TV
programme and a charitable foundation to know that or aid the process.
People who are chefs become so either, for example, because they have a
love of food and cooking or they do not know what they want from life, or
of course both.
the while this smoke screen altruism continues to raise Jamie's profile,
which continues to sell books, which continues to add to his £56 million
....... ad infinitum. We can all rest easy knowing that the troubled and
unfortunate youth can become privileged by being one of Jamie’s chefs.
humanitarian cause for our Jamie was the quest to change the school
dinners our poor children are being poisoned with. Ok it is a worthy cause
that I am in agreement with, but let’s remember this was going on well
before Jamie was involved. At
the same time his fame has raised the profile and gone some way to make
changes to what kids eat at school, in theory anyway.
However behind this quest there lies certain contradictions in what
Jamie actually stands for and promotes. On the one hand he is constantly
haranguing the nation and literally force-feeding children to eat healthy
food, yet on the other hand is the face of a well known supermarket. The
same supermarket that stocks ready meals, turkey dinosaurs, foods clogged
with hydrogenated fats, unhealthy sweets, crisps, food sourced by
unethical means and flown thousands of miles, farmed fish, ill treatment
of British farmers, I could go on and on. While Jamie and the rest of his
extended family appear in friendly commercials extolling the wonders of
Sainsbury’s he is criticising the rest of us who shop at this
supermarket for buying processed junk for packed lunches. Does Jamie
recommend that the school dinners use ingredients sourced from this
supermarket? A question yet to be answered, probably because it has never
been asked. You can’t have it both ways Jamie, you can’t guilt trip
the nations parents into not feeding their children, whilst at the same
time advertising supermarkets as the place to feed our kids. Ok the
counter argument may be that Jamie's own range is more healthy, ethical
and tastier than the ‘normal’ products in this supermarket, but at the
end of the day by putting your face to a business, you are an advert for
everything it sells, chicken nuggets and all.
To add to this he has even gone out of his way to blame working
mothers as the cause for unhealthy meals and the nation’s health
problems. Since when has a remedial class educated TV chef becomes a
sociological analyst for health related demographic trends? It may be ok
for Jules to stay at home, but then again she has no financial worries,
me there is a common theme that runs through this mans motivation: fame
and money. He gets paid a fortune for his association with Sainsbury’s
and public appearances; his programmes are sold worldwide, as are his
books/videos/kitchenware etc. Ok profits from his restaurant go to funding
the charity and keeping it alive, however as most chefs know there is not
much of a profit to be made in restaurants, especially in comparison to
his other sources of income. It is however his contradictory ethical stand
point that gets to me, his moral high ground on what we eat, his blatant
profiteering from the most unethical of all food outlets i.e. supermarkets
and how he has conned a nation into believing his selfless intentions are
for the good of mankind only. The fact that he has put himself up as a
champion of these noble causes is nothing more than a good marketing ploy
to increase his profile and sales, which I am sure have been thought up by
more astute people than him.
the time of going to press poor old Boris ’Bonkers’ Johnson
had the audacity to criticise Jamie’s campaign as being
‘too much’ and ‘over the top’., consequently there was a
national backlash, newspapers were up in arms,
mothers wept and Boris had to apologise . Even the Conservative
party decided to rectify the matter by having a vote on whether
‘Jamie Oliver was a national hero’, with 77% in favour, maybe
Jamie is not so ridicule worthy after all.........
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