Jamie Oliver

Jamie grew up surrounded by good food: his parents ran the Cricketers pub in Essex and, from the age of eight, he started cooking and helping the chefs.

I'm a great lover of organic food, and always try to give my kids organic food as I want the best for them, like so many parents.

Jamie Oliver, 1975-

Jamie was born in May 1975 and straight into the business, really. His dad ran a lovely pub-restaurant, The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, where he grew up. As soon as he was old enough to peer over the worktops, he remembers being fascinated by what went on in the kitchen. It just seemed such a cool place, everyone working together to make this lovely stuff and having a laugh doing it.

The use of quality fresh produce at the pub gave Jamie a love of good ingredients. After an undistinguished school career, he decided he wanted to cook for a living and went on to study at Westminster Catering College. It was around this time that he met Jools and they started dating. After college, he travelled to France to learn more about his trade.

Jamie’s apprenticeship to restaurant cooking came under some of the best chefs in London. To begin with, there was Antonio Carluccio at the Neal Street Restaurant, then he moved on to the River Caf? under Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. The Italian influence on his cooking is strong, with its use of herbs and simple, full-flavoured recipes. It was while he was working at the River Caf? that he was spotted by a TV producer and his life changed.

The first series featuring Jamie cooking was the Naked Chef. Viewers were treated to a glimpse into his world, zipping about London on a scooter and hosting parties for all of his friends, all to a rock’n’roll soundtrack. The food was reassuringly hearty, but not too fiddly, and Jamie always seemed to have his hands full of fresh herbs and olive oil. It was an overnight success, attracting an audience that wouldn’t normally watch food programmes. The book that accompanied the series became a bestseller and the young chef, always fully clothed, was catapulted into the limelight.

Fast on the heels of the first series came the Return of the Naked Chef. Again, it was packed full of the same stylish food and London partygoers, but we also saw more of Jamie’s domestic side, at home with girlfriend Jools and cooking on a smaller scale. The second time around, viewers loved the show and the book, forcing Jamie into a whirlwind schedule of travelling around the world to promote the Naked Chef.

After taking some time off to marry Jools, Jamie worked on his third series, Happy Days with the Naked Chef. The series and book had a slightly different feel as Jamie had taken into account what viewers wanted. There were different moods and ideas in the last outing, but the cheeky grin and wisecracks were still there.

In 2002, Jamie embarked on his most ambitious project yet. He took 15 under-privileged youngsters who had never been anywhere near a restaurant kitchen and turned (most of) them into professional chefs to work under him at his new restaurant Fifteen in London. The restaurant and its accompanying TV series have both been huge successes. Jamie now plans to repeat the formula elsewhere in the UK and in Sydney and New York.

Before leaving to set up Fifteen, Jamie was consultant chef at Monte’s in Knightsbridge, working with his close friend Ben O’Donoghue, star of BBC Two’s The Best. He has written for The Times, as well as for GQ and Marie Claire magazines. He currently writes for Delicious magazine in the UK and Australia.

Jamie also started, and continues to be involved with, the charity Cheeky Chops, which provides training and mentoring for disadvantaged young people – allowing them to follow their dreams and become chefs.

He has recently been credited with getting the Government to increase funding for school meals. He has raised awareness of nutrition through his “Jamie’s School Dinners” series and “Feed Me Better” campaign.

Jamie lives in London with his wife, Jools and their daughters, Poppy and Daisy.

Biography Courtesy: BBC