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Jamie Oliver
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Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food

I was born in May 1975 and straight into the business, really. My dad runs a lovely pub-restaurant, The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, where I grew up. I remember being fascinated by what went on in the kitchen. It just seemed such a cool place, everyone working together to make this lovely stuff and having a laugh doing it.

When I was about seven or eight, they let me peel the potatoes and pod peas, that kind of thing. By the time I was 11, I wasn't half bad at veg prep and I could chop like a demon! A lot of the boys at school thought that cooking was a girlie thing. I didn't really care, especially as I could buy the coolest trainers with what I'd earned from working at the weekend.

When I was 16, I didn't really have the results to stay on at school - besides, I knew by then that I wanted to be a chef. So I went to Westminster Catering College and then did some time in France, learning as much as I could, before coming back to London to work as head pastry chef for Antonio Carluccio at The Neal Street Restaurant. I was really fortunate to have the chance to work at such a renowned restaurant so early on in my career and I made the most of it.

After The Neal Street Restaurant, I worked for Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers at the River Café for three and a half years - what an amazing experience that was. Those two ladies taught me all about the time and effort that goes into creating the freshest, most honest, totally delicious food.

It was there that I first got in front of a TV camera. A documentary about the restaurant was being filmed and the editors decided to show a lot of this cheeky kid who was so into the cooking that he'd answer back to the crew. The day after the programme was shown, I got calls from five production companies all wanting to talk about a possible show. I couldn't believe it and thought it was my mates winding me up!

The result was The Naked Chef and that's where it all kicked off I guess. Have a look around my website and you can find out a bit more about the books and TV shows I’ve done and you keep up with the latest stuff by checking out my diary. Right now I've never been busier in my life! It's a complete whirlwind - and the only thing I wish I had more time for is my family - my lovely girls Jools, Poppy and Daisy. Although we now have a place in the country to spend our weekends at, so I really look forward to Friday nights when we can pack up and spend the weekends together. That's what it's all about!


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