Jamie Oliver first burst onto the screens of UK televisions in 1999, a young, shaggy-haired twenty-four-year-old with an almost frenetic, hyperactive energy, moving around the kitchen with a non-stop yet practiced speed matched by the show’s jumpy, quick editing style and close-up camerawork. The show and the cookbook that shared its name would shoot Oliver into superstardom, eventually making him one of the most recognizable British chefs, as well as the fastest selling non-fiction author in British history (despite being dyslexic).
Oliver was born May 27th, 1975 to the owners of a restaurant/pub called The Cricketers in the small town of Clavering, England, where he began cooking at age 8 and could outmatch the staff’s chopping skills by age 11. He got started professionally as a pastry chef working under Italian chefs Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, then became sous-chef at the Michelin-starred The River Café in Hammersmith, London, where he was discovered by the BBC and given his first show, The Naked
Debuting on BBC Two on April 14, 1999, The Naked Chef ran for three seasons, earning Oliver the best selling book in the UK and an invitation to cook for then Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. It kickstarted a career in the public eye with numerous books (on average more than one per year) and television shows. Throughout all of these, Oliver’s TV persona is as the chef off-work after his restaurant has closed, cooking just for himself and his close friends, more interested in making a good meal quickly than a complicated haute-cuisine masterpiece. The quickness of his recipes often match the quickness of his on-camera preparations, making him a perfect culinary ambassador for those without much time to make meals at home, demonstrated by the overwhelming success of his cookbooks Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals , Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals , and 5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food , the last of which sold a million copies in its first year.
Oliver’s on-screen energy is matched only by his relentless, outspoken food activism. A passionate advocate for a healthier food system and a balanced diet, Oliver has championed many causes over the course of his career, first and foremost of which has been the fight against childhood obesity. He’s committed to the goal of halving childhood obesity by 2030, having launched many campaigns and even TV shows dedicated to improving the diets of British and American schoolchildren. He also campaigned successfully for a sugar tax on soft drinks, and has advocated better nutritional training for British health professionals. His show Jamie’s School Dinners got the British Government to pledge £280 million to address the lack of nutrition in school meals, and earned him the title "Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2005". But the show was also unique in its format—part cooking show, part political documentary, part reality show, giving an intimate look into Oliver’s personal life, his f-word laced indignation at the obesity problem, and even the difficulties of his marriage. While his activism has, at times, brought him into conflict with city residents, local officials, and animal rights groups (he once slaughtered a lamb on prime-time television), Oliver is perpetually unapologetic and outspoken, a chef with as much determination and persistence for his social outlook as for his work in the kitchen and his multifaceted career.
Jamie Oliver is a famous English chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and media personality. Over his multi-decade television career, he has starred in numerous hit cooking series, including The Naked Chef , Jamie’s Kitchen , Jamie’s School Dinners , Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and Jamie Cooks Italy . His many best-selling cookbooks—which include The Naked Chef , Jamie’s Kitchen , Jamie’s Italy , Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals , and 5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food —have made him the second-best-selling author in the UK after J.K. Rowling. He has also opened many restaurants, including Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa, Jamie’s Fifteen, and Jamie’s Diner. He has also been awarded a British MBE for his public service, and won the 2010 TED Prize for his campaign to ban unhealthy food in UK schools.