Jamie O(li)ver

I watched the first of Jamie Oliver’s new series, Jamie At Home, last night and was sorely disappointed.

The concept is Jamie going back to basics and showing you simple recipes, based on ingredients you can grow in your back garden. First stop: tomatoes.

It sounds great, but it just didn’t ring true for a number of reasons.

1) Jamie’s home (or at least the grounds) is huuuuuuuge. He seems to have a curiously well-equipped outhouse, complete with a massive fridge empty enough to be able to hang a muslin-full of tomatoes to create tomato consomme. Something we can all do easily at home, right?

2) Then he casually produces the most fantastic collection of different-coloured tomatoes that he (or rather his gardener) grew in his, ahem, garden. We’re talking cherry, beef, and plum tomatoes, green ones, yellow ones, purple ones, orange ones – you name it, they’re there. Again, all something we could all knock up in our 10×6 space!

3) I know Jamie’s recipes are meant to look good, but the quality of the ingredients he uses pale against what most of us could find. His dried oregano looked quite remarkable and the size of the three, yup, you read that correctly, three bufala mozzarella balls he produces to make his “mothership” of tomato salads must have cost a small fortune.

4) The programme employs FOUR food stylists. Hang on, Jamie’s a chef – can’t he do his own food. Why does he need to employ four extra people to make his own food look good? Is he not confident enough?

I started to like Jamie after Jamie’s Kitchen and School Dinners, but this latest series looks too contrived. It’s too slick to look convincing and feels fake. The back-to-basics thing just doesn’t ring true, and the “at home” bit is a joke.

It’s ironic that Jamie has campaigned vigorously to keep his own privacy, yet happily broadcasts his latest show from his “home”. I don’t doubt he owns it, yet it doesn’t really look like his. It’s clearly been TV-ised.

Sorry, Jamie, the recipes might taste great, but the presentation doesn’t ring true. Time to go back to crusading, not basics!

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