My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, sane manner. “Food is one of life’s greatest joys,” writes Jamie, “yet we have reached this really sad point where we are turning food into the enemy, something to fear. I believe 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 do not eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.” (Oliver, 2011)
Jamie Oliver is often associated with the title of his early work, “The Naked Chef” (Oliver, 2000). His minimalistic, clean, rustic attention to garden-fresh, organic food provides the underlying philosophy for his successful career. Oliver has carved out his own distinct place in the culinary world, with an infectious accent, unpretentious lifestyle and a clear commitment to showcasing good food for all people. Like many of his celebrity chef peers, Oliver responded to his early popularity with a spate of television programs including: The Naked Chef and Jamie’s Kitchen.
Jamie’s style of cooking is using simple, unprocessed, fresh from the garden gastronomy, where flash follows sustenance. Jamie’s introduction to the culinary industry was as organic as his cooking philosophy. His parents operated a pub and eatery near his home in Essex, England. Jamie spent his childhood years stumbling around the kitchen of The Cricketers, getting his hands into basic food prep. He was ahead of years in culinary prowess, mastering basic apprentice chef skills by the time he was a teen.
He knew early on that cooking was his calling, so enrolled in the culinary program at Westminster Catering College, now Westminster-Kingsway College, which accepts students into its career courses from the age of 16. Jamie enrolled at that age, and studied the school’s well-respected Hospitality and Catering programs. Oliver followed up his London cooking education with the well-shared path of many professional chefs, a stint in France. Working his way through the famous French culinary world and learning classical methods of French cookery. After returning to London he went to work as pastry chef and baker for Chef/Proprietor Antonio Carluccio, of Neal Street Restaurant fame, who now operates Carluccio’s Caffes.
For three and a half years, Oliver worked at the well-received River Café, which brought him early media attention. A documentary about the restaurant featured on camera appearances eventually led his first regular TV presence, on the Naked Chef.