The British chef, Jamie Oliver, was born and raised in the village of Clavering, to Trevor and Sally Oliver. His parents ran a restaurant, The Cricketers, which started Jamie’s lifelong obsession with food and cooking. From an early age, he could be found in the kitchen and practised cooking alongside his parents. Jamie was educated at Newport Free Grammar School. He left school with just two GCSE qualifications in Art and Geology and went on to attend Westminster Technical College, now called Westminster Kingsway College, where he earned a City & Guilds National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in home economics.
Jamie’s first job in the food industry was as a pastry chef at Antonio Carluccio’s Neal Street restaurant, where he was taught how to prepare Italian cuisine, developing a long term relationship with his mentor Gennaro Contaldo. This relationship came back to help him later in his career when Jamie himself hired Contaldo to help run his chain of high street restaurants, Jamie’s Italian.
Jamie then moved to The River Cafe in Fulham, where he worked as a sous-chef. It was while he worked there that he was noticed by the BBC in 1997 after he made an unscripted appearance in a documentary which was being made at the restaurant, called Christmas at the River Cafe.
A few years on, in 1999, Jamie’s own BBC show The Naked Chef debuted, launching Jamie’s career as a TV chef. Due to his popularity on his TV show, his cookbook became a number one best-seller in the United Kingdom and led to Jamie being invited to prepare a lunch for the prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, at 10 Downing Street.