Jamie Oliver expresses doubt over 'Empire Roast Chicken' recipe as he explains why he hired 'cultural appropriation specialists'

Jamie Oliver has received severe backlash in the past for cultural appropriation (Image via Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Jamie Oliver has received severe backlash in the past for cultural appropriation (Image via Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

British chef Jamie Oliver is taking no chances when it comes to making sure that his cookbooks are as thorough as possible and free of errors.

While speaking to news outlet Sunday Times Culture, the 46-year-old celebrity chef revealed that he hires "teams of cultural appropriation specialists" to ensure his recipes are safe for publication.

“Your immediate reaction is to be defensive and say, ‘For the love of God, really?’ And then you go, ‘Well, we don’t want to offend anyone.’"

Oliver admitted his "Empire Roast Chicken," a chicken recipe containing coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin, was no longer appropriate today.

While speaking with media outlet CNN, a spokesperson for Jamie Oliver said the team is "proud" to work with experts who help them learn more about different cuisines so that they can produce culture-sensitive and inclusive content for their consumers.

His method of preparation for "Empire Roast Chicken" was showcased in Jamie's Great Britain, a 2011 cookbook accompanied by a Channel 4 television series showing him making some of the recipes.

As per the publication, in one of his episodes titled Empire Roast Chicken, Bombay roasties and amazing Indian gravy, the chef noted "our Indian love affair" by preparing a "full-on collision between beautiful British roast dinners and gutsy Asian spices.”

Additionally, he talked about how Indian spices were incorporated into British dishes through "trade routes" and then made his "lemon-scented, roast empire-style tandoori chicken" with them. While carving the chicken, Oliver called the recipe the "Empire food" before raising a toast "to the Empire" with the rest of his crew, according to the outlet.

Although the recipe was initially billed as "lemon-scented, roast empire-style tandoori chicken," Oliver has renamed it on his website as "spiced roast chicken."


Jamie Oliver has faced backlash in the past over culture appropriation

Back in 2014, Jamie Oliver was slammed for his recipe of "jollof rice" which contained ingredients not found in the original dish. This made author Reni Eddo-Lodge tweet (now deleted) that Oliver's dish "hurts" her soul. In 2018, he once again came under the radar for his dish called "punchy jerk rice," which faced negative reviews from many Caribbeans.

The British chef is not the only celebrity to have faced criticism over cultural appropriation. In 2019, chef Gordon Ramsay faced backlash for opening an "authentic" Asian restaurant called Lucky Cat with no Asian chefs working there.

46-year-old Jamie Oliver gained fame as the host of the BBC's 1999 cooking show The Naked Chef. Post that, he went on to write several cookbooks that sold over 46 million copies globally.

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Edited by Atul S