Jamie Oliver: Why I no longer tend to watch cookery shows

The TV chef said much of the young talent was now on YouTube.

Graham Norton Show – London
Graham Norton Show – London

Jamie Oliver has said he does not tend to watch cookery shows because they no longer take risks on “new talent”.

The TV chef and restaurateur said there are “extraordinary” chefs making video content but they mostly work on social media platforms such as YouTube.

Oliver, 46, became widely known in 1999 through his BBC show The Naked Chef and its accompanying cookbook but suggested the programme would not be commissioned today.

TV Awards Oliver
Jamie Oliver in 1999 (PA)

Asked if he watched cookery shows on TV, Oliver told Radio Times: “I tend not to. I don’t think cookery takes risks with new talent. The Naked Chef happened at a certain moment, and it had that great name, but if I tried to do it now I’m not sure I’d get the commission.

“There’s extraordinary talent out there, but they’re making their own content on YouTube.”

Oliver admitted he had experienced both “great successes” and “great fails” across his career.

He said: “2019 was the 20th anniversary of The Naked Chef, so I’m wondering what the next 20 years will look like. I’ve had some great successes, some great fails, and you learn. I’m a more measured Jamie now. I just want to do things that make me happy.”

He said this meant “going in a more controlled direction”.

He added: “I’ve had a lot of trial and error but you can’t stop trying. Fifteen (his not-for-profit restaurant) was trail-blazing. Everyone said ‘Don’t do it’, but it’s still the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The celebrity chef’s restaurant empire – which included Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen – collapsed into administration in May 2019.

Oliver promised to open new restaurants including a new version of Fifteen, saying: “I’m watching for now but I’ll definitely get back in the game.

“We’ve got some exciting ideas for Fifteen to reimagine itself, and we still have restaurants abroad.”

Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now.

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