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Chef Jamie Oliver hires ‘cultural appropriation specialists’ to vet his cookbooks before publication

The 46-year-old admitted that one of his recipes -- 'empire roast chicken', which comprises coriander, turmeric, garam-masala and cumin -- would no longer be 'appropriate' today.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 26, 2022 8:00:24 pm
Chef Jamie Oliver, Jamie Oliver cookbooks, Jamie Oliver recipes, cultural appropriation in food, indian express newsThe chef's team of cultural appropriation specialists makes sure his recipes read okay and the books are safe for publication. (Photo: Instagram/@jamieoliver)

British chef Jamie Oliver is leaving no stone unturned to make sure his cookbooks are vetted well and there is no scope of error or scrutiny. He has said that he hires “teams of cultural appropriation specialists” to make sure his recipes read okay and the books are safe for publication.

The celebrity chef made the revelation while talking to the Sunday Times Culture magazine. “Your immediate reaction is to be defensive and say, ‘For the love of God, really?’ And then you go, ‘Well, we don’t want to offend anyone’,” Oliver was quoted as saying.

In the Sunday Times interview, the 46-year-old admitted that one of his recipes — called the ’empire roast chicken’, which comprises coriander, turmeric, garam-masala and cumin — would no longer be ‘appropriate’ today.

Why? For starters, it was published in Oliver’s cookbook from 2011 called ‘Jamie’s Great Britain‘. It was accompanied by a TV series that showed him preparing some of the recipes.

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A post shared by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver)

A CNN report states that in one of the episodes, titled ‘Empire roast chicken, Bombay roasties and amazing Indian gravy‘, the chef celebrated “our Indian love affair” by making a “full-on collision between beautiful British roast dinners and gutsy Asian spices”.

He also ostensibly talked about “trade routes” that “led to Indian spices making their way into British dishes”; he used them in his “lemon-scented, roast empire-style tandoori chicken”. While carving the chicken, Oliver also said, “This is Empire food, you can use your hands”, going on to raise a toast “to the Empire” with his crew, the outlet mentions.

On Oliver’s website, the recipe has been renamed as ‘spiced roast chicken’.

 

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A post shared by John Lewis & Partners (@johnlewis)

While cultural appropriation, as a topic, has permeated the fashion world, the culinary arts are not immune to it either. In 2019, when another celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay had opened an “authentic Asian” restaurant, he was slammed for not hiring any Asian chefs.

Speaking about the contentious topic, a spokesperson for Oliver was quoted as telling CNN: “Food is all about sharing inspiration from around the world, and we’re proud to work with some incredible experts to continue to learn about different cuisines and to help us deliver content that is culturally sensitive and inclusive.”

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