By Anna Matheson published
He made his name as the Naked Chef thanks to his stripped back style of cooking and has become the number two biggest selling author in the UK, but how much do you really know about Jamie Oliver?
Forty-one-year-old Jamie rose to prominence after being spotted by producers after he appeared as an unscripted extra in a 1997 BBC documentary about The River Café; the restaurant he worked at as a sous chef.
The chef impressed TV executives with his easy going charm and just two years later fronted his own cooking show The Naked Chef.
The rest is history; Jamie has sold millions of cook books, fronted countless TV shows, opened chains of restaurants and campaigned for healthier eating in schools. In 2003 he was even awarded an MBE for his services to the hospitality industry.
Here are11 things you might not know about Jamie Oliver…
1. Jamie learnt his trade while working in his parent's pub.
Trevor and Sally Oliver ran The Cricketers in Clavering, Essex, where Jamie learnt to cook in the kitchen with his parents. From the age of eight, the budding chef was earning £1 an hour pocket money helping out in the kitchen and began pulling pints behind the bar by the time the tender age of 10.
2. Jamie didn't finish a book until the age of 38 and left school at 16 with just two GSCEs.
The chef's severe dyslexia meant he never read a full novel until recently. He told the Telegraph: 'I'm dyslexic and until recently I'd never got through a book. But I read [Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games sequel] Catching Fire; I loved disappearing into a story.'
3. Jamie worried about his title, The Naked Chef.
The title referred to his stripped back culinary style, with no fancy sauces and plenty of simple ingredients, but the name worried Jamie at first. He said: 'I was afraid my mum would think I was a porn star.'
4. He's a keen collector of driftwood.
He said: 'It might sound a bit mad, but a solid bit of driftwood makes for a perfect chopping board, the kind you'd pay a small fortune for in a department store.' Now, where is the closet beach we wonder...
5. He's been asked to cook with human flesh, but turned down the offer.
He said: 'It was an idea a TV producer had, but I thought it was one step too far. And besides, I know exactly what human meat tastes like. Pork. It tastes exactly like pork.' We dare not think what the reaction to that one would have been.
6. His go to hangover cure is found in his spice cupboard.
Ignoring the regular favourites like orange juice, bacon or headache tablets, Jamie of course plumps for something much more 'foodie'. He has previously said: 'A heaped tablespoon of cumin will sort you out, 100 per cent. Best cure in the kitchen.'
7. He once bid on a pair of David Beckham's football boots.
He might have wanted some sweet new sneaks but Jamie lost out to Simply Red star Mick Hucknall, who nabbed the shoes for a cool £20,000. Ouch!
8. He was just 18 when he met his wife, Juliette 'Jools' Norton.
The pair have been together for 23 years and have five children together; Poppy Honey Rosie, 15, Daisy Boo Pamela, 14, Petal Blossom Rainbow, 8, Buddy Bear Maurice, 6 and River Rocket born in August last year. True childhood sweethearts.
9. While his nick name was The Naked Chef, Jamie has actually turned down several offers to pose naked.
He does cook in the buff for his wife though and things don't always go to plan. Jamie explained that one Valentine's Day he attempted to cook a meal in the nude: 'I was naked in the kitchen and burnt my penis. It really ruined my evening — and my night.' Poor chap.
10. He's a huge Royal enthusiast.
Jamie once said of the Royal Family: 'Anyone says anything about them and I'll be all over them. I'm a royalist, these guys are brilliant, bloody brilliant.'
11. His restaurant Fifteen trains disadvantaged youths.
After three series of The Naked Chef, Jamie moved over to Channel Four where his show Jamie's Kitchen followed his journey in setting up Fifteen restaurant in London. The restaurant continues to train kids from disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in the food business and serves up delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as a fab Sunday roast.
Essential Jamie Oliver Stats
- How old is Jamie Oliver? 41
- How tall is Jamie Oliver? 5’10
- How many children does Jamie Oliver have? Poppy Honey Rosie, 15, Daisy Boo Pamela, 14, Petal Blossom Rainbow, 8, Buddy Bear Maurice, 6 and River Rocket born in August last year.
- Who is Jamie Oliver married to? Jamie Oliver married childhood sweetheart Juliette 'Jools' Norton in 2000 and the pair have five children.
- Who are Jamie Oliver's parents? Jamie's parents Trevor and Sally Oliver run a pub in Essex where Jamie first started to cook.
Anna Matheson is a senior celebrity and entertainment writer, currently working for Reach PLC, predominantly with OK!
Anna has a BA in English Literature which she studied in Queen Mary University. Following her degree, she gained an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University.
Her words have also featured in The Sun, The Scottish Sun, woman&home, Essentials Magazine, Good to know, Bella, and Closer.
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