by Gilly Smith
Born on May 27, 1975, by the age of eight, Jamie Oliver was already cooking in his parents' pub and restaurant The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex. From Westminster Catering College, he went straight to the apron strings of Antonio Carluccio as his head pastry chef. Spotted by the director who would make Nigella, Jamie's foul mouth and cheeky chappy image in the kitchens of The River Cafe won him his own TV series, the "Naked Chef" by the tender age of 22. A monster advertising deal with Sainsbury's was soon to follow, allowing Jamie and his mates - strewn through his series as effortlessly as he chucked herbs on his easy dishes - to come into our sitting rooms several times a night. We watched him marry his sweetheart, become a father - twice, and chewed our fingernails with Jools in Jamie's School Dinners, willing him to come home more often. Grabbing no-hope kids off the street and training them to cook, setting up a charity that would keep them in work at one of London's trendiest restaurants and kicking the government up the backside, he's the people's champion, the chef that taught lads to cook rather than defrost, the Essex boy who was invited to tea with the Prime Minister.
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