Jamie Oliver: at home, in the kitchen and in the garden
The famous chef Jamie Oliver told DO about how, from a city dweller, he turned into a happy farmer.
We interviewed Jamie Oliver at the very moment when the prices in the shops soared up and many of us thought: should we use a country lawn to expand the garden? The famous chef did this a few years ago and even wrote a wonderful book about his farming experience - “Jamie at Home”, which was published in Russia by the Cookbooks publishing house.
Jamie, judging by your activity, work takes up a lot of your time. Does your wife think you are an incorrigible workaholic?
I am at home almost every weekend, and during the whole year I have seven weeks of vacation - more than any of my friends! True, in the week I often work long shifts - from seven to eight in the morning and until late. But my wife Jules got used to it: she knows what my work means to me, and does not consider me a workaholic.
Women usually envy cooks' wives. It is easy for them to receive guests, they are not attached to the kitchen, they are constantly pampered with something tasty. Tell me, what does Jules do much better than you?
In recent years, Jules has become a very, very good cook. During the working week, almost all cooking hangs on it, and when we had children, it became much better to cook. I’m not sure that she’s doing better than mine, but sometimes she surprises with some fresh version of the usual recipe. And she's a great mom.
How old are your daughters and what do you manage to learn from them?
Poppy has just turned seven, and Daisy will be six soon. And we are expecting another child. What am I learning from them? Hard to say. I think the parent gets a charge of happiness, just by playing something silly with the children. Although this is often forgotten.
In England, you organized a company to improve the quality of school lunches so that children would not get used to fast food. But do their own children have to prove that chips and stake are bad, or do they not even look in their direction? Only honestly!
My girls don’t eat chips and, I’m pretty sure, have never tried Coke. They eat well, because from childhood they were fed tasty and varied.
As for school lunches, we were able to knock out a lot of money and commitments from the government to improve the nutrition of children. Many of these obligations are already beginning to be fulfilled, others are waiting in the wings, but I have no doubt that we are moving in the right direction.
A lot of people in Russia have land and enjoy growing their crops there. But, as a rule, these are people of the older generation. For an urban man who has genetically taken off the earth, working on earth seems incredibly difficult. What could the urban man Jamie Oliver, who wrote a book about his garden, tell them?
I will say that even if you have at your disposal only a sunny windowsill, try to grow something on it - at least spicy herbs. Some vegetables can be grown in cans or small pots, such as chili peppers and tomatoes. It's worth it! If you regularly use some grass in cooking, you can save money by growing it from seeds, rather than buying packaging every week.
I spent my childhood in Essex, in the village, and three or four years ago I returned there with my wife and daughters. Like many others, I was torn between family life and a crazy work schedule, trying to find a balance. And now I finally leveled the scales, and thanks for that to my garden. You can assume that I turned into a hippie. But only growing your vegetables really brings me a lot of joy - believe it or not. To watch how the garden changes during the year, to succeed or to sit in a puddle - it carries away how little else.
Sociologists say that in a crisis, the first thing people start to save on is travel and entertainment, then clothing, then food. Do you know how to save on food right?
I know for sure that if you think a little bit, you can eat better for less. Throughout its history, mankind has invented ingenious ways to create culinary masterpieces literally from nothing. In Italy, this trick is called cucina povera: when simple ingredients turn into a divine dish.
Are you planning a new culinary journey? What will the new book be about?
I am currently writing a book and filming a series of programs about America. I cook all kinds of wonderful food and meet no less wonderful people. Usually, the words “American cuisine” recall fast food, but I put aside stamps and look for people as far away from the world of fast food.