Jamie Oliver was born in May 1975 and straight into the business. His father runs a lovely pub-restaurant, The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, where he grew up. He remembers being fascinated by what went on in the kitchen where it was such an exciting place with everyone working together to cook and having a laugh doing it.
When Jamie was about seven or eight, he was allowed to peel potatoes and pod peas. By the time he was 11, he was skilled at vegetable preparation and could chop like a demon! Jamie grew up during a time when a lot of the boys at school thought that cooking was for women only. Jamie wasn't too bothered by it, as long as he had enough money to purchase anything he desired.
When he was 16, Jamie realised that he was not academically inclined to stay on at school. Fortunately, he had already known by then that he wanted to be a chef. He proceeded to attend Westminster Catering College and then went to France, learning as much as he could, before coming back to London to work as head pastry chef for Antonio Carluccio at The Neal Street Restaurant. He considers himself lucky to have the chance to work at such a renowned restaurant so early on in his career and made the most of it.
After The Neal Street Restaurant, Jamie worked for Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers at the River Café for three and a half years and had the experience of a lifetime. From the two ladies, he learnt all about the time and effort that goes into creating the freshest, most honest and most delicious food.
It was there that Jamie first got in front of a TV camera. A documentary about the restaurant was being filmed and the editors decided to show a lot of the cheeky lad who was so into the cooking that he'd answer back to the crew. The day after the programme was shown, Jamie received calls from five production companies all wanting to talk about a possible show.
The result was The Naked Chef and a snowball of success soon ensued. From receiving an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen to journeying across the Atlantic, Jamie has never been busier in his life!
While he calls it a complete whirlwind, the only thing he wishes for is more time for the four loves of his life: his wife Jools and his three daughters Poppy, Daisy and Petal.