Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The knives are out for Jamie Oliver now


Gifted Gourmet
 Share

Recommended Posts

article from the Independent UK

Critics have said Oliver, plucked by a television company from the obscurity of the kitchens of the River Café to instant stardom as The Naked Chef, is not cut out to be the grand chef-patron to which he aspires. His ubiquity, his Sainsbury's television commercials - earning him £1m - and his chirpy Essex-boy image, his "pukka" catchphrase ...Fifteen, in Hoxton, east London, was meant to give gravitas to that lightweight image. But Harden's says it has inspired "huge levels of dissatisfaction" among restaurant-goers, and it has the guide's lowest ratings for food, service and ambience.

I find this rather saddening because, by watching his show and how he pulled the team together, I had such high hopes for Jamie.

Perhaps he tried to do too much for a guy his age .. or was it perhaps his abilities? :rolleyes: Anyone eaten at Fifteen? Opinions?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lets not forget that he was plucked from the "chorus line" at River Cafe, because he is cute and photogenic and bouncy.

without sounding "catty" it wasn't for his cooking skills.........or ideas.......etc.

he is very cute and viewers want to be just like him.

thats all i can say. before i burst into tears at the state of our perception of whats important in our kitchens and on our tables.......

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all - everyone should have a look at his first two books (yes yes, I came out of the closet on this a long time ago). They're excellent.

Secondly, I went to the restaurant, and it was appaling. Diabolical. The service was horrific. One or two of the dishes were practically inedible - and this (little did I know at time of booking) was in the transition time between groups of kids. In other words, it was cooked by the professionals - Jamie Oliver not among them. The portion sizes of the mains were 50% too large (and I'm one the biggest eaters I know), as was the price. The retro-60's chair gave me a back ache, and every single person who worked there kicked the back of it at some point, because the corridor between the tables is too narrow. The woman in charge thought the best way to deal with my complaints was to blush, then become embarassed, and then say nothing.

Really criminal.

And I still love those two books.

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh dear.

Well, it's not much of a surprise really.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't speak for how Jamie Oliver is as a chef for honestly (yes, marlena, this might surprise you) that 'cute' appeal never appealed to me at all and I could never tolerate sitting through an entire half hour of it on TV.

Same thing with the books. I don't buy a cookbook because of the face on the cover.

But he has done well for himself, so nevertheless I say kudos to him. We all have to use 'what we've got' to make it in this world...

The restaurant, though it has his name on it, should not be 'blamed' on him though.

He is a chef, not a manager, not a businessperson.

Sounds like he needs better partners and better support systems.

I feel badly when I read these reports, for this business is magnificently difficult, both professionally and personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't speak for how Jamie Oliver is as a chef for honestly (yes, marlena, this might surprise you) that 'cute' appeal never appealed to me at all

but nonetheless the producer saw someone very photogenic and personable and thought: ahah, my next million (she of the two fat ladies fame producer).

and he did catch on worldwide.

personally i think the whole jamie thing is very cyncial and as crafted tightly as a boy-band or girl-band is for maximum "hits" and audience appeal.

also, who did we say writes his books? do we think the other chefs/authors in this fair land write their own books either? some do more than others is all i'll say. (nigella's writing, h i don't fancy her recipes too much, is on the other hand, a very engaging writer! man, when she wrote about make-up for the times she even had me thinking about make up, i mean, thinking about it....amusedly, consideringly, etc. she's the same with food. she has lots of good words and phrases stashed up her sleve to snatch and plop in here and there........i'm always thinking: yeah, why didn't i come up with that, etc.

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well at least he has more professional credentials than some TV Cooks.

And I would rather have a half decent chef who by appearance or personality encourages thousands of people to cook than a brilliant one who nobody is interested in.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

let's see, i was wondering what happened to the 'let's give someone a chance' thing he did for tv. so some of you have been to the rest. and were dissappointed?

i think among the culianry world some people deserve the chance to become successful through tv rather than by slaving for years and years.

as for his shows, i'm not really a big fan apart from the fact i get to see good old london on tv, the license plates, the banter, the lingo etc. so it is entertainment for me. of course, there is always going to be a 'ooh, that's interesting' somewhere along the series, but not many.

i'm in chef school at the moment in new york and loving it. finally understanding what a gpa is. :biggrin:

my favourite show is great chefs of the world

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say, I find all the ill will towards Jamie Oliver on this board a bit creepy. A little similar to all of the Emeril-bashing. Some people truly do hate to see others succeed.

A huge amount of my friends would probably never have started cooking if it wasn't for JO. I personally couldn't stand him when he first came out, but after being given one of his first books as a gift I was hooked. It was the first cookbook I owned and, although I don't use it much any more, it was certainly the start of my culinary journey. if it wasn't for him, I'd probably be eating microwave meals. The same could be said for many of my friends. If someone could explain to me what's bad about this, I'd be very grateful, as it's obviously impossible to like Jamie Oliver and be a food lover.

Having said that, the restaurant sounds like it needs some help (although it's hard to take that independent article all that seriously). I know a bunch of people who have eaten there, and I've never heard such mixed reports in my life. Some people loved it, some people had the same reaction that Moby did. Like Carrot Top said, it sounds like he needs better partners and better support systems. I believe it's doing very well though, so who knows if that's going to happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think among the culianry world some people deserve the chance to become successful through tv rather than by slaving for years and years. 

Everyone in this world certainly deserves the chance to become succesful, through whatever means they can beg borrow (no I won't say steal for that is wrong, really) or create.

But in the 'becoming successful' at supposedly being a chef through television performance rather than the unfortunate slaving that is a part of any real excellence at anything...can't say I think it possible.

A chef must know his/her kitchen, foods, staff, purveyors, on and on endlessly.

One of the reasons it is likely that someone like Emeril has done better with the performance of his restaurants is that he did put the time and effort into learning every little tid-bit of information he could about every detail. This takes time.

If you get a chance to watch the documentaries of how Emeril puts together a new restaurant project and how Jamie did, you will see a difference. Was this difference made manifest or created by the producers of the shows? I don't know, even that is possible, I imagine.

'Slaving' if it is smart slaving, has its very real benefits.

Could be that the 'jump' for Jamie Oliver was so fast that he didn't have the time to be solid on some facts of the full-course meal of operating a restaurant, and entrusted many of the details to people who did not perform well, based on what we are hearing.

Yeah, his face and personality got him noticed in the first place...and certainly I would be unhappy too if I paid a pretty penny for the sort of dining experience related.

Time will tell if he is a quick enough learner to make the next basket....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think part of the issue is that he is using students (which is really no big deal, if they are trained and supervised properly), yet he is charging like he personally has his hands on every pot going in the kitchen. I think if the prices were more reasonable, he would not have so many complaints. Does not mean the food would be better, just not as many complaints.

It's like I said before in another thread, I don't mind paying premium prices for really good food. I do mind being overcharged for pedestian grub. And add, I mind even more when my experience at a premium priced restaurant involves getting my chair kicked on a regular basis, and waitstaff who cannot take care of basic requests or customer service issues.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think part of the issue is that he is using students (which is really no big deal, if they are trained and supervised properly), yet he is charging like he personally has his hands on every pot going in the kitchen. I think if the prices were more reasonable, he would not have so many complaints. Does not mean the food would be better, just not as many complaints.

It's like I said before in another thread, I don't mind paying premium prices for really good food. I do mind being overcharged for pedestian grub. And add, I mind even more when my experience at a premium priced restaurant involves getting my chair kicked on a regular basis, and waitstaff who cannot take care of basic requests or customer service issues.

i do sympathize but maybe you're mainly paying for quality produce????? and a little for the effort put into it. i have no basis for my comments as i haven't been there or even seen a menu.

but for underprivallage people to come through and at least not send you home with food poisoning has to be at least an experince :blink:

what's the name of the restaurant? is there a link?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i do sympathize but maybe you're mainly paying for quality produce????? and a little for the effort put into it. i have no basis for my comments as i haven't been there or even seen a menu.

but for underprivallage people to come through and at least not send you home with food poisoning has to be at least an experince :blink:

what's the name of the restaurant? is there a link?

Ask and ye shall receive.

Fifteen.

Charlie

Walled Lake, Michigan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The menu doesn't look half-bad... but the price is kind of steep (£65 per person or about $116 USD). I could see myself getting very annoyed at even the slightest shortcoming for that kind of money.

Edited by carp (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well at least he has more professional credentials than some TV Cooks.

And I would rather have a half decent chef who by appearance or personality encourages thousands of people to cook than a brilliant one who nobody is interested in.

Really?

I'd have thought his credentials were the lowest on the food chain. isn't that the point?

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most training restaurants charge a fraction of what others do, not twice as much.

Jamies comments do not share a high regard for the customer:

I need to make this amount of money, and it's for the kids.

Frankly if I am not receiving what I am paying for in the name of charity - I want it tax deductible :raz:

Edited by Scott (log)

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A huge amount of my friends would probably never have started cooking if it wasn't for JO. I personally couldn't stand him when he first came out, but after being given one of his first books as a gift I was hooked. It was the first cookbook I owned and, although I don't use it much any more, it was certainly the start of my culinary journey. if it wasn't for him, I'd probably be eating microwave meals. The same could be said for many of my friends. If someone could explain to me what's bad about this, I'd be very grateful, as it's obviously impossible to like Jamie Oliver and be a food lover.

I think that this is very difficult and I have actually changed my mind about JO in the last year or so. There reason for this was best stated by Carlovski:

And I would rather have a half decent chef who by appearance or personality encourages thousands of people to cook than a brilliant one who nobody is interested in.

So I have tried to seperate the man for what the man has achieved.

Unfortunately, as the face of Sainsburys he has undermined some of his own good work. You speak of eating microwave meals, which is a good point, but remember (if you are in the UK) last Christmas period the Adverts for a Sainsburys/Jamie Christmas dinner, where the meal he had cooked went pear shaped, but he was rescued from the drama by the Sainsburys Fairy who magicked up all sorts of ready-meal microwave or just pop in the oven treats.

Considering that the Christmas meal is one of the few meals that UK familys are likely to make some effort towards and eat at a table together, I think that the message of 'it's OK not to make and effort, it's just food' sent out by Jamie is quite poor and somewhat in contradiction to his serious food persona.

I agree with Moby that the first two books are quite good and they made a very positive impact, but I shall reserve judgement on JO for a few more years yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jamie Oliver is excellent at seducing big, deep flavors using modest technique and simple ingredients. Classic technique paired with British sensibility and Mediterranean flavors work really well for him, and his books show this brilliantly.

I give him a lot of respect and credit for the Fifteen project. It was probably ill-advised and at best risky, but I really feel like he was so passionate about the subject that the cons/negatives didn't matter to him. I've never eaten there so I can't comment first hand, but if I have the chance to visit when I'm in England, I definitely will. That is, if I still have room after I swing by Fergus Henderson's joint.

In any case, I still love Jamie Oliver and I'm happy he's on the television from time to time. His shows are infinitely more interesting and educating than the vast majority of the crap the Food Network has resorted to.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jamie Oliver is excellent at seducing big, deep flavors using modest technique and simple ingredients.  Classic technique paired with British sensibility and Mediterranean flavors work really well for him, and his books show this brilliantly.

I think that this gets to the heart of the JO matter.

Yes, he's a tousled beauty with a charming lisp. Yes, the show's camera work requires a dramamine tab to endure. Yes, he was plucked for TV stardom. Yes, these Sainsbury commercials sound wince-worthy. Yes, his telly-mates, who show up hungry at the end of each episode, should be rounded up and dropped into the Tower of London for a spell. Yes, this restaurant has some repricing to do.

But the guy is doing our work, people. He preaches some basic cooking concepts that pay off big for people learning to cook. I haven't read the books, but I worked very hard to hate the show -- and I couldn't. Here was this guy who could have been tossing around god knows what ingredients and making references to who knows what dishes, but he wasn't. He was teaching people the (very rudimentary) basics of cooking meats and vegetables well and with flavor; he was providing the foundation that most of us use when we cook. Watch a couple of hours of Food TV and see if anyone else does that.

And I, for one, appreciate that he doesn't play every damned tip as his own brilliant invention -- one of the things about both Emeril and Martha that drive me nuts ("I like to throw a dash of cream of tartar into my egg whites to stabilize them, a little secret of mine...").

So, my two cents on Jamie.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with a few others here.

No one thus far disputes how good he can be and is in the kitchen.

But he did himself a disservice by not building up enough of an organization to help him before expanding to be doing as many restaurants and projects as he is.

I would say his decision to price Fifteen where it is is one decision where the right partner / consultant / assistant would've been able to steer him closer to where it needed to be.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I'm amazed that the Evening Standard reported that Harden's is "the world's most respected dining guide".

From the Harden's newsletter 10 September 2004:

""The world's most respected dining guide"

We were very pleased with how the Evening Standard decided to bill Harden's. Remarkably some people on the eGullet newsgroup have taken issue with this description, but sadly failed to say who they'd prefer to apply it to."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By SobaAddict70
      I LOVE pickled ginger. In fact, in some instances, moreso than sushi or sashimi itself. When I was first introduced to sushi, it was my least favorite part of a sushi meal. Now it's the opposite.
      Besides sushi/sashimi, what other uses for pickled ginger are there? And how do you make your own? What goes in the pickling solution? Fresh pickled ginger (not premade) is undyed and a pale beige in color, whereas the premade version is a slight tawny pink.
      Any suggestions?
      Soba
    • By Smarmotron
      What sorts of mustards do you like? The type of mustard I like is pungent without a hint of sweetness (fie upon honey mustards), but not too vinegary. Inglehoffer's Stone Ground tends to be rather good, but it's got a little too much vinegar (overpowers the taste of the mustard). What sorts of mustards do you like? Any brands? Or do you make your own?
    • By Eldictator
      Any ideas on how I could put a honey centre in a jelly pastille
    • By Keith Orr
      Sorta Secret Aardvark Sauce (Habenero Hot Sauce)
      I thought I'd submit my recipe which is a clone of a locally available sauce here in Portland OR called Secret Aardvark Sauce.
      Sorta Secret Aardvark Sauce
      1 – 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes or roasted tomatoes chopped - include the juice
      1 – 14.5 oz of rice wine vinegar. Use the now empty tomato can to measure
      1-1/2 cups of peeled and grated carrots (packed into the measuring cup)
      1 cup of finely diced white onion
      1/4 cup of yellow mustard
      1/3 cup of sugar
      2 teaspoons of Morton’s Kosher Salt
      1 teaspoon of black pepper
      13 small Habaneros – seeded and membranes removed. (This was 2 oz. of Habaneros before cutting off the tops and removing the seeds and membranes)
      2 teaspoons curry powder
      1 cup of water when cooking
      5 or 6 cloves of garlic - roasted if you've got it
      Put it all in the crockpot on high until everything is tender. About 3 hours  Note: I used the crockpot so I don't have to worry about scorching it while it cooks. 
      Whirl in food processor – Don’t puree until smooth – make it lightly/finely chunky.
      Makes 3 pints - To can process pint jars in a water bath canner for 15 minutes
      I've thought about making this with peaches or mangoes too, but haven't tried it yet.
       
      Edited for clarity on 11/9/2020
       
      Keywords: Hot and Spicy, Carribean, Condiment, Sauce, Easy, Food Processor
      ( RG2003 )
    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...