Jamie Oliver — what you see is what you get when you interview him. Down-to-earth, friendly, helpful. Home cooks and chefs worldwide have embraced his simple, delicious recipes that he presents with flair. His promotion of healthy cooking has changed many cooks' perceptions of 'good food'.
Jamies' career has blossomed since I first interviewed him nine years ago. His 100-plus staff in his building complex in London's Islington area is involved in recipe testing, food styling, the 'Jamie Magazine' design and production and public relations. Jamie's homeware collection is growing and there are over 980 ladies party-selling the products.
On the home front, he and wife Jools have recently added the third flower to their collection of little girls — Poppy (seven years), Daisy (six) and Petal (nine months). "Daisy," he says, "loves to cook. She tries to copy everything I do and wants to be a chef. Cooking for kids is so visual."
Over 380 students have graduated from '15', the restaurant school Jamie established in London to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds train to become chefs. "Not all are chefs. One has ended up running a chain of delicatessens. However, one I rescued from a jail term, is now working in a top restaurant in New York."
His latest venture showcases American food in his new TV series 'Jamie's American Road Trip' and 'Jamie's America' cookbook. "One of the best ways to get to know people when travelling is to get under the skin of new wave immigrants and experience their real food." The six, one hour episodes cover food in 10 American states and will show in 140 countries in the near future. The accompanying book is a collection of some epic dishes, "some of which," says Jamie "needed to be tweaked slightly to not only make them easier to prepare, but healthier to suit today's lifestyle."
'Jamie's America' cookbook is different. It's not just the diverse recipes (there's no junk or super-sized portions), it's the quirky design, photography and background information that combines to make this an inspiring book for the home cook. "I feel this book is turbo-charged," says Jamie.