The celebrity chef was asked about the issue of foreign cuisines and cultural appropriation in an interview with The Sunday Times.
He told the newspaper’s 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 also admitted in the interview that his 2012 ‘Empire Roast Chicken’ recipe would not be acceptable today.
In 2014, he came under fire for his interpretation of West African dish Jollof rice.
Then in 2018, Oliver was accused of cultural appropriation for his new product “punchy jerk rice,” as the product didn’t contain many of the ingredients traditionally used in Jamaican jerk marinade.
This prompted Labour MP Dawn Butler to ask whether the chef knew “what Jamaican jerk actually is?”
#jamieoliver @jamieoliver #jerk I’m just wondering do you know what #Jamaican #jerk actually is? It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products. @levirootsmusic should do a masterclass. Your jerk Rice is not ok. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.
— Dawn Butler MP✊?? (@DawnButlerBrent) August 18, 2018
Other celebrity chefs have also been accused of cultural appropriation and insensitivity in the past. In 2019, Gordon Ramsay’s pan-Asian restaurant Lucky Cat came under fire for not having enough Asian chefs and “whitewashing” Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
In 2017, Nigella Lawson was mocked by Italians for her spaghetti carbonara recipe – which contained the very non-traditional ingredient of cream.
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