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Food, happy Living and Jamie Oliver...

message posted 25-Aug-08 23:17:10
Oliver criticises alcohol culture

Celebrity Jamie Oliver has long campaigned for healthy eating
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has criticised the UK for its alcohol culture and poor cuisine.

In an interview with Paris Match magazine, Oliver suggested people in the UK cared more about getting drunk than they did about eating well.

The chef said there was a better variety of food in South African slums than in English towns and cities.

Oliver, 33, said Britons used to create "fabulous dishes" but added: "We have lost our traditions."

In the interview, the celebrity chef turned his attentions to the state of British cuisine and eating habits.

Commenting on the fact that 80% of British people did not sit around a table for dinner, the chef said: "It's true in London and in the big cities of the north. It is connected to the new poverty."

Oliver went on: "England is one of the richest countries in the world. The people I'm talking about have enormous televisions - a lot bigger than my own - the latest in mobile phones, cars and they go and get drunk in pubs at the weekend.

"Their poverty shows in the way they feed themselves."

Oliver said in his experience the cuisine of "people living in the slums of Soweto" was "more diverse" that that of Britons.

message posted 28-Aug-08 15:41:59
As a South African, I agree that the food might be more diverse (you buy what you can afford that day) or maybe nothing at all.

But the story is about eating well ! and if Jamie thinks people eat well in Soweto then his PR people definatly took him on the tourist tour or maybe the bullet proof glass obscured his vision.

The term "rose tinted" springs to mind.

I dont agree with supermarkets in the UK selling unseasonal imports, but you can get just about any kind of food from any where in the world and Jamie says that our food is not diverse ?

Mmmm not so sure you got that right ....... Chef ?

message posted 28-Aug-08 15:48:24
I Think this is a classic example of never trust the Press to print the right story.

Here is a classic example of the Restaurant guide cooking up stories to sell more copies.

Ramsay v Wareing stirred by Harden'sHarden's guide says Marcus Wareing is the best chef in London - surely it can't be trying to stoke his feud with Gordon Ramsay just for the sake of publicity?

On the face of it the fact that Harden's restaurant guide has chosen Marcus Wareing's Petrus as the top restaurant in the UK should be a cause for foodie rejoicing - in particular, we are expected to leap about because this knocks his old boss Gordon 'Big Sweary' Ramsay off the top spot and rubs his nose in the contents of the grease traps.

For normal people here's a brief rundown of the main players in this cataclysmic event. Ramsay, in case you weren't aware, was the chef who shattered our outdated tenets about space and time by exerting microscopic personal control over every dish in the 20 or so restaurants with his name over the door. Time, surely, for a reality injection, a timely reminder: 'Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal'.

Wareing is the blistering young talent, clearly chafing under the restraint of Ram-Bo's perfectionist/thug schtick. He runs just one restaurant, brilliantly, constantly present at the passe, caring only for the food. We should stand and cheer.

Harden's is the upstart restaurant guide that took exception to Michelin's high-handed and seemingly bonkers ratings and decided they could do better themselves. A new voice an honest broker. We should surely applaud.

I'll tell you what why don't I just point you at Joseph Campbell or possibly Robert McKee's 'Story Seminars' and you can just fill in the rest of this soaring, epic struggle for yourself. 90 minutes, three acts, redemptive ending Christ, it's beautiful.

Yep, we should be thrilled. So why do I feel like taking a very long shower with some wire wool and a bottle of disinfectant?

Yesterday, Harden's made the announcement that they were crowning Wareing the new king of British cuisine at least in part because Ramsay was ' chasing media attention across the globe'. Ramsay's company, GRH, accused Hardens of negative spin to 'generate publicity' for their guide.

Meanwhile Wareing, as befits a man trying to be taken seriously as a chef is keeping quiet oh, apart from the brilliantly timed profile in Waitrose Food Illustrated where he revealed that he 'wouldn't give a fuck' if he never saw his foul-mouthed boss again before suggesting that GordonBalls should "Put a gun to my head, shoot me, put me in a box and bury me because if you don't, I'll come back and come back. I'll never give up until I get where I want to go."

Who's scripting this stuff? It's brilliant. It's like Max Clifford meets John Milius.

As we watch our best chefs and critics spinning and attention-seeking like 3-year-olds at a party, I'm glad everyone's talking in rough, tough, no-bullshit expletives. It gives us, the audience expected to buy this artificial, PR generated bollocks the opportunity to say 'stuff the lot of them - who gives a fuck?'

About this articleClose Restaurant guide agitates chefs' feud
This article was first published on on Thursday August 28 2008. It was last updated at 10:43 on August 28 2008.
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