Jamie Oliver has reportedly revealed that he employs “cultural appropriation specialists” to check his recipes to avoid potential insensitivities, according to The Sunday Times.
The TV chef was asked about the issue of foreign cuisines and cultural appropriation in a new interview with the newspaper’s Culture supplement.
In 2018, Oliver was forced to defend the name of his “punchy jerk rice”, claiming it highlighted his culinary inspiration, after facing criticism from Labour’s shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler.
In 2014, he came under fire for his interpretation of West African dish Jollof rice.
Speaking to Culture, he reportedly said he now employs “teams of cultural appropriation specialists” to ensure he does not make any mistakes.
“Your immediate reaction is to be defensive and say, ‘For the love of God, really?'” he said. “And then you go, ‘Well, we don’t want to offend anyone’.”
Oliver also said his 2012 “Empire Roast Chicken” recipe would not be acceptable today, according to the interview.
The 46-year-old father of five, who rose to fame as the Naked Chef in the late 1990s and went on to launch numerous cook books and several TV shows, is not the only famous cookery star or major brand to have been accused of cultural appropriation.
In 2019, Gordon Ramsay’s pan-Asian restaurant Lucky Cat, in London’s exclusive Mayfair, was criticised by a food critic, while earlier that year Marks and Spencer was accused of cultural appropriation after it released a vegan wrap labelled as a biryani.
And in 2017, Nigella Lawson was mocked by Italians after sharing a recipe for spaghetti carbonara – using the non-traditional ingredient of cream.