To get things started, this:
Jamie Oliver has said he named his new product “punchy jerk rice” to show where he drew his culinary inspiration from.
Oliver’s rice mixes garlic, ginger and jalapenos “to create a jerk marinade with attitude”.
I know a lot of people like Oliver’s cheeky Essex-boy shtick and lord knows it’s made him rich, but boy I find it irritating. I’ve tried using his recipes before and they’re full of silly descriptions and flippant remarks, often in places where you need some clear direction. The informal, who-cares approach may have worked when he burst onto the scene as a young man with The Naked Chef, but now he’s 43 and so laid back he wants the government to tell everyone what they can and can’t feed their children, he sounds like someone who’s never grown up. And the problem with trying to be popular and down wiv the masses (even though his fan base is exclusively middle class) is he attracts the attention of idiots like Dawn Butler:
In a tweet the Shadow Equalities Minister wrote to Oliver: “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. Levi Roots should do a masterclass. Your jerk rice is not OK. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”
If Britain was a serious country and adults were in charge the pressing question on everyone’s minds would be how such a complete imbecile has attained elected office. Instead, everyone is running around contesting the absurdity which is “cultural appropriation”, as if logic and reason are answers to a child flinging shit. Butler should have been ignored or mocked into oblivion, but instead she’s generating headlines.
And this amuses me:
The chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots has described Jamie Oliver’s decision to launch a jerk rice dish as a mistake, as a row over cultural appropriation widened.
From what I remember, Levi Roots turned up on Dragon’s Den with a guitar and some of his grandmother’s homemade sauce. Pasty-white Englishman Peter Jones, who is good mates with the bloke in charge of purchasing for Sainsbury’s, agreed to back Roots for a hefty cut of the business. One phone call to his mate later and kerr-ching! Instant success. Now Roots has gone onto open some successful restaurants which is more than Jamie Oliver managed, and I don’t begrudge him his fame and fortune. But I don’t see how Roots getting Peter Jones to flog his grandma’s sauce into Sainsbury’s makes him an authority on Jamaican cooking, much less one who deems it appropriate to tell another chef what to do. Does he even have a chef’s qualification, as French chefs must in order to be taken seriously? No, he doesn’t.
So in summary, we have a politician telling an unqualified chef/guitarist to teach a former pastry chef, who may have made a pig’s ear of a dish, to give a masterclass on how to do it properly. Little wonder British cuisine is subject to global mockery; the problem is, with stories like this making front page news, the mockery is no longer restricted to the food.