Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver reveals the reason he's hired cultural appropriation specialists for his cookbooks
The 'Naked Chef' author has 25 cookbooks under his belt and likely more to come
Britain's Jamie Oliver has some 25 cookbooks to his name, making him a standout in the publishing industry.
In a new interview, the 46-year-old famed chef and author revealed why he's hired "teams of cultural appropriation specialists" to ensure his books aren't met with backlash.
"Your immediate reaction is to be defensive and say, ‘For the love of God, really?’ And then we go, ‘Well, we don’t want to offend anyone,'" he said to the U.K.'s The Times.
For example, the esteemed cookbook author – whose non-fiction writing has sold 48 million copies across the world – said there are some recipes, such as his "empire roast chicken" in 2012 that wouldn't be viewed as appropriate today.
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The issue of cultural appropriation has become a topic of concern for other chefs mastering foreign cuisines, the outlet notes.
Take Pippa Middlehurst, the winner of BBC's "Britain's Best Home Cook," who was met with criticism on Twitter by a Filipino-Canadian journalist for releasing a cookbook of dumplings and noodles recipes.
The report also points to writer Georgina Hayden, who praised White cook Fuschia Dunlop's Chinese recipe cookbooks.
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"Their success, and the key, is to submerge yourself in a culture," Hayden told the outlet. "It's not a two-week holiday then pretending you're an expert."
What's worse, Hayden declared, is "ripping off someone else's work."
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Oliver is best known for his "Naked Chef" cookbook and his "The Naked Chef" television program. His YouTube channel has more than 5.6 million subscribers. In the recent interview, he discussed his future in publishing cookbooks. Although his publisher "would probably stop breathing" if he announced an end to authoring his recipes, he did admit he sees an end "probably in about ten years' time."
The famed chef, who is also a father of five, is gearing up for a new TV competition show called "The Great Cook Book Challenge." The series will see contestants compete for a book deal with Penguin Random House. Oliver, who is a face on the upcoming show airing this month in the U.K., said becoming a bestselling cookbook author is a "life-changing" experience.
"It's hugely hard," Oliver, 46, said of standing out as a cookbook author. In his native country alone, there were 5,000 cookbooks published in 2020, per The Times. "You can't look at me and think that's normal because it's so far from normal."
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Plus, Oliver confessed he is critical of contemporary cookbooks he sees on shelves. He says "even from feeling" a book's cover, he can "smell what's going on."
"I know it’s a bag of s--- just by touch and feel." "It feels very light, very shiny, and it just doesn’t feel very nice."