Why I Hate Jamie Oliver


It’s one of life’s most taxing dilemmas – right up there with choosing between Prada and Gucci or who is the thickest person in Brookside ? What would you say is the most irritating thing about Jamie Oliver ?
There is, after all, such an impressive array of nauseating personality traits to choose from: his accent, his carefully scruffy-yet-presentable fashion victim friends, his wearying yoof-ful exuberance…
Most people still go for the way he talks about “putting the old fish on the old chopping and squeezing a bit of the old lemon on to it”, but frankly that’s become a bit obvious; rather old hat, mate.
That said, when he insists on “filling the old saucepan with the old water”, that always gets me going. Will you put an old sock in it ?!
Yes, hating Jamie’s relentlessly mannered Mockney is passe. Just because he says things like “bosh this in a bowl”, when he means, basically, “put it ” in a bowl.
The same goes for his habit of greeting members of the public (in the street, in shops) saying “Hallo, me old mate” as if they were his long-lost (Mockney) brethren when in fact he has never met them before in his life.
What a geezer eh ?
This brilliantly practiced ‘natural’ street lingo is about as authentic as Keith Floyd’s boozy behaviour used to be. Oliver’s parents run a pub, The Cricketers in Clavering, a village near Saffron Walden – which, as everyone knows, is not the countryside virtually the East End.
In his defence, Jamie has laughed off the notion that his accent is “estuary English” mostly on the grounds that he doesn’t know what an estuary is.
My current Favourite Hatred is the way that, just as Ali G has learnt to say “booyakasha”, Jamie has registered that, in Cockney, the term “sweet as a nut” can be condensed to “sweet as.”
Jamie has taken this one horrible step further, talking about things being “simple as.” Simple as… Jamie Oliver, for example.
After “Hard As” and “Tasty As”, this disastrous distortion of modern urban lingo reached a new nadir when he said “the really pukka passion fruit are the ones that are wrinkly as.”
The sheer, frantic, fun-ness of Jamie’s Pop-tastic, white, middle-class Cool Britannia lifestyle (the perpetual basketball playing/drumming/vespa riding/sliding down the banisters) is of course ridiculous in any 24 year-old, let alone someone who’s got his own series on TV.
Sadly, this inclination of his is in essence simply a product of his pathetic immaturity so deciding to hate him for it would be a bit like hating the Andrex puppy for messing around with toilet rolls. Some people would say that the joy Jamie can get simply bouncing a basketball up and down is rather touching.
In Jamie’s case, he is particularly fascinated by loud noises and shiny objects – forever bashing things with his fists and wrapping vegetables in tin foil for no reason.
“It’s a piece of pure theatre, innit?” the little tinker keeps insisting when, once again, he makes a tin foil tent for his carrots. Well, no, Jamie, it isn’t, but if it keeps you quiet for five minutes please don’t let that stop you.
Poor Jamie seems to be the only person in the country not to know that he sound unnervingly like the teenage character from The Fast Show.
Herbs, for example, are “fantastic !” apparently. “The colours are great !” Green mostly.
“I tell you what I forgot ! Lemon yeah ? Fantastic !!!”
Peaches are, of course “pukka” and “that whole, sort of pear-nut-watercress thing” is “great yeah ?”
At one point, when he held a slice of fennel and said “that to me is just well sexy”, I was almost convinced that he was sending himself up. Only his absolute resemblance to a sort of blond-haired version of Benny from Crossroads convinced me he was utterly genuine.
Another of my own personal Jamie Oliver irritations is the way his programmes are packed with horribly contrived transactions in which hard-working local ethnic market-traders endlessly slap Jamie on the back, and laugh at his every utterance, while he patronises the hell out of them.
In one episode, the peasant concerned was actually kept in some sort of cellar, with only a glimpse of Jamie’s sweet cherubic features keeping him going.
There are few things more irritating than being patronised by someone as crude as Jamie Oliver.
His fish pie, for instance, was supposedly “well posh, well classy” just because it had “scallops and prawns in it.”
What does he think working-class people live off ? Gruel !
He explained that his sorbet was “based around a sugar syrup. Sounds a bit posh but it’s simple as.” (Argh !!)
Another strong contender was the time Jamie showed us how to cut a peach in half, and, for those of us who were a little bit quicker off the mark, revealed his secret for mastering the difficult bit – “Taking the old pip out”.
Another major source of irritation remains the fact that just because he admits that he eats “sarnies” and can’t put a ‘t’ in ‘potatoes’, he is somehow meant to be (groan) a man of the people – very much New Labour’s kind of People’s Chef in fact – and therefore some kind of culinary/television miracle.
“It’s got to be simple” is one of his mottos, and let’s face it he should know.
The poor soul doesn’t realise that tearing up mozzarella with his fingers rather than a perfectly fine knife or fork doesn’t actually make it more “fun” or “simple” or “real” at all – it just makes him look like a semi-trained primate, albeit one who can ride a vespa and likes horrible indie music.
Jamie Oliver’s main problem as a TV presenter is that he can’t speak. He’s like the Cockney equivalent of an American airhead who can’t, like, actually speak without everything ending in, like, a question ?
He talks about “two large, sort of, organic eggs” and even “nice, sort of, watercress.”
“Move the peaches and that” he said as he stirred a bowl of, er, peaches.
“You want bits of the peach to stick out and look cool.” (Quentin Tarantino he ain’t). This sort of lame-brain remark highlights probably the most irritating thing about him – the way that, like some sort of spotty teenager, Jamie Oliver genuinely wants everything to be trendy.
Bread, for example, is “cool” and when his in-laws came round for dinner, his primary objective was “I wanna show off, yeah ? I want it to look good.”
Jules, his fiancée, has admitted that when they go shopping together, and she stocks up on Pot Noodles and Lean Cuisine.
“He makes me get a different basket. Otherwise it looks bad.”
Jamie has yet to learn that trendy is not cool. Trendy is naff.
But then, just when you thought the dilemma was decided, just when you thought he couldn’t get any more irritating, this month, Jamie Oliver produced a couple of masterstrokes.
First of all, yesterday (if everything went according to plan) he got married – to which, we can only say ‘Congratulations matey’ – if only in the hope that married life will keep him occupied and keep off the tele for a while.
The thoroughness with which Jamie (the little rascal) managed to make his wedding a constant source of irritation was actually quite impressive.
He got the Paul Smith suit on order as soon as possible (natch) – a two thousand pound powder blue number to fit nicely in with the array of super-trendy accoutrements with which he likes to surround himself: the trendy Vespa and fashionably retro haircut.
Then came all the publicity – how Zoe Ball and Fatboy Slim would be in attendance; how the fabulous young couple were not asking for wedding presents but for donations to the bride’s chosen charity – the Stroke Association. “Not a trendy illness like breast cancer,” Jules insisted sensitively.
As if it wasn’t bad enough for Jamie’s “real mates” to get any kind of vicarious fame by coming round for dinner every week, since their engagement, Jules has suddenly been doing almost as many interviews as young Jamie – and Jamie himself is completely inarticulate at the best of times. (Example: “And what you do,” he once gushed on air, “is brush them…With a brush.”)
“I’d give anything to be more like him,” she cooed in one interview, marvelling at “how cool” he is and the way that he would chat to her Dad “like he chats to the Prime Minister or some head of a foreign state” – ie like a complete a oaf presumably.
Just how many heads of state turn up in Saffron Walden remains a mystery.
Jamie’s proposal, one piece sobbed, came “amid the tears on a cold Christmas Eve as Jules laid a holly wreath on her father’s grave.”
Endearingly Jamie, for his part, remembered it somewhat differently, beaming that he had proposed on Millennium night at a party at his parent’s pub.
“After seeing how happy we were all were, over the festive period, I decided I wanted to go one step further.”
(Those crazy kids.)
The shocking revelation that he was nice to her Dad aside, Jools could only envy the way Jamie is so comfortable around his celebrity friends like Zoe and Patsy. The poor girl obviously doesn’t realise just how embarrassing having celebrity friends like this really is.
Jules’ final message in one piece was that now that her elusive modelling career has fizzled out, and her taxing work as a TV researcher is over, she is going to start producing babies – or getting “the old bun in the old oven” as young Jamie keeps putting it, the little, er, tinker.
“I’ve never been a career sort of person. I watch my friends trying to juggle everything – family and career and ambitions.. but that’s just not the life for me.”
The sort of refreshing modern-day attitude you normally only find in minor Royalty.
Then, just in case his best-selling cookery book, his TV show, his wedding and his One-to-One ads, weren’t getting him enough publicity, Jamie announced that he was to be the new face of Sainsbury’s – a masterstroke not only for Jamie but for Sainsbury’s who have thus found the only person more irritating than their last representative for their adverts – the hapless, shouting, John Cleese.
No wonder they call him “the Michael Owen of cookery” – although he’ll have a hard job to make a worse advert than Owen’s formidably wooden effort with Garth Crooks for Nationwide.
Luckily it looks as if they’ve already cracked it.
“Following the informal style of his show,” Sainsbury’s announced, “Jamie will be seen in the pub with his mates – his real mates – who persuade him to cook them a meal when they get home. So he speeds off to Sainsbury’s on his scooter.”
Phew, those advertising boys certainly know how to earn their money don’t they ?
And they could give even Jamie lessons in being irritating too.