James Trevor "Jamie" Oliver, MBE (born 27 May 1975) is an English celebrity chef, restauranteur, and media personality known for his food-focused television shows, cookbooks and more recently his global campaign for better food education.
His first job was a pastry chef at Antonio Carluccio's Neal's Yard restaurant, where he first gained experience with preparing Italian cuisine, and developed a relationship with his mentor Gennaro Contaldo. Later in his career, Oliver employed Contaldo to help run his successful collection of high street restaurants, Jamie's Italian. Oliver then moved to The River Café, Fulham, as a sous chef. It was there that he was noticed by the BBC in 1997 after making an unscripted appearance in a documentary about the restaurant, "Christmas at the River Cafe".
In 1999 his BBC show The Naked Chef debuted, and his cookbook became a #1 bestseller in the UK. That same year, Oliver was invited to prepare lunch for then-Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. In 2000, Oliver became the face of the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's through an endorsement deal worth $2 million a year. After eleven years the partnership between Oliver & Sainsbury's ended. The final television advertisement was for Christmas 2011.
After three series of Naked Chef programmes (The Naked Chef, Return of the Naked Chef and Happy Days with The Naked Chef) for the BBC, Oliver moved to Channel 4 in the UK where his first series was a documentary, Jamie's Kitchen which followed the setting up of 15 restaurant in London. The restaurant, in Westland Place, London, continues to train young adults who have a disadvantaged background for careers in the restaurant business.
In 2003, Oliver was awarded an MBE.
In 2005, Oliver initiated a campaign originally called "Feed Me Better" to move British schoolchildren towards eating healthy foods and cutting out junk food. As a result, the British government also pledged to address the issue. Delving into politics to push for changes in nutrition resulted in people voting him as the "Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2005," according to a Channel 4 News annual viewer poll.
His emphasis on cooking fresh, nutritious food continued as he created Jamie's Ministry of Food, a television series where Oliver travelled to inspire everyday people in Rotherham, Yorkshire, to cook healthy meals. Another television series is Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (2010–2011), where he travelled first to Huntington, West Virginia and then to Los Angeles, California to change the way Americans eat, and address their dependence on fast food. In 2007, threats against Jamie Oliver's charitable foundation "15 Cornwall" were made by Cornish nationalists. Oliver's holding company, Jamie Oliver Holdings Ltd., made enough profit for Oliver to have been listed on The Sunday Times list of richest Britons under 30.
In June 2008 he launched a restaurant called Jamie's Italian, his first high-street business venture, in Oxford, England. Jamie's Italian has proved successful and there are now 35 restaurants in the collection. The brand has been franchised globally and now includes branches in the UAE, Australia, Ireland, Russia, Turkey, Singapore and Hong Kong. Dozens more are planned over the next 4 years. In December 2009, Oliver received the 2010 TED Prize. In June 2013, Oliver was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame. In January 2013, Oliver started the Food Tube digital TV platform as a means to promote new cooking talent.
In June 2014, three of Food Tube's stars - DJ BBQ, KerryAnn Dunlop (one of the original Fifteen apprentices from 2002) and Cupcake Jemma - published their own cookery books through publisher Penguin Books. Oliver is also the host of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals on Channel 4 which aired for 40 episodes in 2012.
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