By the time he was 31, Jamie Oliver had sold millions of cookery books, conquered the US market, opened a restaurant, starred in several TV shows and revolutionised UK school dinners.
Responsible for making cooking cool, the energetic man, whose cookbooks are bestsellers worldwide, has been voted the sexiest chef on television and his cookery shows are broadcast in over 50 countries. He is the self-proclaimed ambassador for British cooking whose diners include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prince Charles.
Born in 1975, Jamie developed his fascination for all things food at his parents’ restaurant in Essex. After leaving school he attended the Westminster Catering College, before travelling to France to further his skills. On his return he landed the job of head pastry chef for Antonio Carluccio at The Neal Street Restaurant. Jamie’s next move was to the River Café, where he stayed for three and a half years, fine-tuning his skills under the guidance of Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.
Spotted in the background of a documentary about the restaurant, it wasn’t long before the editors of the show focused in more and more on this cheeky young chef. The day after the programme was broadcast, Jamie received calls from five different production companies all eager to work with him. He soon became the hottest celebrity chef on the circuit and his programme, ‘The Naked Chef', revolutionised TV cooking shows - even though he was fully clothed!
His cheeky manner and down to earth personality have won him legions of fans around the world. Indeed, he is responsible for re-introducing the word ‘pukka' to the wider world. Jamie is also a chef that likes to take risks - he set up ‘Fifteen Foundation', a charity which trains unemployed young adults to become professional chefs, and gambled over a million pounds of his own money on its success. The accompanying TV series and book were both huge successes.
His efforts to improve school meals saw him take on the British Government as well as the unenviable task of convincing schoolchildren to give up fast food. Again, the success of Jamie’s mission was huge and major steps were taken to improve the quality and variety of food on offer in schools.
Jamie's energy and lovable character made him advertising gold for Sainsbury's, which signed an endorsement deal worth £2 million a year with the chef in 2000, making him the face of the supermarket. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous campaigns urging the nation to eat healthy by taking advantage of the chain's grocery and food options.
The same year also saw the chef marry former model Juliette Norton who he had met in 1993. The couple started a family in March 2002 with the birth of Poppy Honey Oliver, who was joined in April the next year by Daisy Boo Oliver. After nearly six years, the couple expanded their brood with Petal Blossom Rainbow Oliver, who was born in April 2009, and Buddy Bear Maurice Oliver, who was welcomed into the family in September 2010.
Jamie's career as an author received a boost in 2010 when it was revealed that he had reached a new milestone that made him the biggest-selling author in the country after Harry Potter creator JK Rowling. UK sales of his cookbooks exceeded the £100 million mark in November, buoyed by his latest release - Jamie's 30-Minute Meals.
Jamie continues to make his own brand of cookery shows. Now a multi-millionaire, Jamie and his wife Jools live in London’s fashionable Primrose Hill with their children.