Television chef Jamie Oliver has said that he employs ‘cultural appropriation specialists’ to avoid getting into hot water over certain recipes.
The British cook has already felt the heat for presenting his version of traditional recipes, such as jerk rice and jollof rice. The accusations of cultural appropriation has lead him to employ 'offence advisers' to vet his recipes. Speaking to The Sunday Times Culture magazine, he said: "Your immediate reaction is to be defensive and say, 'For the love of God, really?' And then you go, 'Well, we don’t want to offend anyone'."
Oliver found himself at the centre of a storm in 2018, when his recipe for ‘punchy jerk rice’ saw widespread criticism on social media, including from politician Dawn Butler MP. He received criticism in 2014 for his jollof rice recipe in an incident that became known as ‘jollofgate’, and in 2016 for his take on paella.
The chef is not the only one to have received criticism over cultural appropriation, including Gordon Ramsay and Andrew Zimmern. This month, Eric Ripert received criticism for sharing his pho recipe on social media. Critics complained that the chef’s interpretation of Vietnam’s national dish was ‘botched’ and ‘loose’, with some claiming it amounted to cultural appropriation.
Legendary French chef Raymond Blanc said that if he were to create a recipe from a particular country, he would speak to someone from that country before doing so.
"It is for us professionals to do that in a manner that is not offensive," he told The Sunday Times Culture magazine, but added that cultural appropriation should not always be seen as negative and can be seen as "cultural enrichment" and added that "multiculturalism and cultures" have been taken around the world for thousands of years, resulting in "foods and ideas" travelling.