Jamie Oliver Hires ‘Cultural Appropriation Specialists’ To Check His Recipes

Jamie Oliver employs “cultural appropriation specialists” to vet his recipes to avoid possible insensitivities, he told The Sunday Times.

The chef was asked about making recipes from cultures other than his own during an interview with the newspaper’s Culture supplement.

Mr. Oliver is no stranger to backlash over his recipes inspired by foreign cuisines. In 2018, he defended the name of his recipe for ‘hard-hitting jerk rice’ after it was criticized by Labour’s shadow equality minister, Dawn Butler. Mr Oliver said he recognizes the inspiration he used when creating the dish.

Before that, in 2014, Mr Oliver was criticized for his take on the West African dish of Jollof rice.

Speaking to Culture, Mr Oliver said he now employs ‘cultural appropriation specialists’ in a bid to prevent further mistakes and misinterpretations.

‘Your immediate reaction is to get defensive and say, “For God’s sake, really?” And then you say, “Well, we don’t mean to offend anybody,” he said.

Mr Oliver is not the only one to be criticized for this. Other TV chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson have also been in the firing line for their interpretations of dishes from other cuisines.

Mr Ramsay was slammed by food critic Angela Hui in 2019 when he launched his new restaurant Lucky Cat. Ms Hui accused Mr Ramsay of “whitewashing” Asian cuisine and not employing chefs from that continent at his so-called Pan-Asian restaurant. Ms Lawson has been criticized for her take on the classic Italian dish spaghetti carbonara, in which she used cream, an unconventional ingredient according to authentic Italian recipes. Supermarket chain Marks & Spencer has also been accused of cultural appropriation after calling a vegan wrap a biryani.

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