Spot the mistake: How things went wrong for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver

I never was a disciple of the Jamie Oliver ministry, or any other celebrity chef that knows shit about food safety (which is most of them, see the abstract from our 2004 paper, below).

Alexis Carey of The Courier Mail writes that when Jamie Oliver first landed on our TV screens back in 1999, he soon won over millions of fans thanks to his delicious recipes and cheeky, boyish charm.

Countless television appearances and cooking programs quickly followed his original series, The Naked Chef, along with cookbooks, advertising deals, charity campaigns and even his own chain of restaurants.

But today, a string of controversies coupled with multimillion-dollar losses has meant the shine has well and truly started to come off the 43-year-old Brit.

So how did it all go so wrong for one of the world’s best-loved celebrity chefs?

According to Aussie public relations expert Catriona Pollard, Oliver’s downfall was caused by a series of classic PR blunders including overexposure, a disconnect between his actions and his personal brand and a failure to address a number of controversies head-on.

Over the years, the father-of-five built a restaurant empire under the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, starting with the launch of Jamie’s Italian in 2008, followed by the Recipease cooking school and deli chain in 2009 and barbecue chain Barbecoa in 2011.

But in September 2017, Oliver was forced to inject $22.7 million of his own cash into Jamie’s Italian to save it from collapsing.

All Recipease outlets were closed by late 2015 and last February Barbecoa Ltd went into administration.

Ms Pollard said one possible reason behind those failures was the mismatch between Oliver’s “average Joe” identity and the up-market feel of his eateries.

The collapse of Oliver’s restaurants have affected his own personal brand.

“You can buy one of his books for $20, or watch his TV show for free. But a lot of his restaurants sold expensive meals … which didn’t really stack up for people,” she told news.com.au.

She said there was also a divide between Oliver’s relatable image and his staggering fortune, estimated to be around $441 million.

“His personal brand is very much the ‘everyday lad’, but that doesn’t convert to a businessman who is so wealthy. There’s a disconnect between his everyday persona and his wealth,” she said.

Ms Pollard said it had also been a mistake to link his name so closely to his restaurants, as their failure was now inextricably linked to his personal reputation.

Last year Oliver was accused of hypocrisy after signing a lucrative, $9.1 million deal with oil giant Shell to revamp its service station food offering.

But as Oliver had long been a supporter of climate change action, many considered a partnership with an oil company to be a serious betrayal.

Ms Pollard said Oliver’s decision to ignore the growing furore added another blow to his reputation.

Mathiasen, L.A., Chapman, B.J., Lacroix, B.J. and Powell, D.A. 2004. Spot the mistake: Television cooking shows as a source of food safety information, Food Protection Trends 24(5): 328-334.

Consumers receive information on food preparation from a variety of sources. Numerous studies conducted over the past six years demonstrate that television is one of the primary sources for North Americans. This research reports on an examination and categorization of messages that television food and cooking programs provide to viewers about preparing food safely. During June 2002 and 2003, television food and cooking programs were recorded and reviewed, using a defined list of food safety practices based on criteria established by Food Safety Network researchers. Most surveyed programs were shown on Food Network Canada, a specialty cable channel. On average, 30 percent of the programs viewed were produced in Canada, with the remainder produced in the United States or United Kingdom. Sixty hours of content analysis revealed that the programs contained a total of 916 poor food-handling incidents. When negative food handling behaviors were compared to positive food handling behaviors, it was found that for each positive food handling behavior observed, 13 negative behaviors were observed. Common food safety errors included a lack of hand washing, cross-contamination and time-temperature violations. While television food and cooking programs are an entertainment source, there is an opportunity to improve their content so as to promote safe food handling.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: UK-steak-house edition (Jamie Oliver is a food-safety idiot) and quinoa ain’t steak

Ruki Sayid of the Mirror writes the meat supplier behind Wetherspoon’s sudden move to axe steak for its Steak Club menu is at the centre of a food hygiene investigation.

The Food Standards Agency revealed Russell Hume’s sites have been inspected and products recalled after allegations it was in “serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.”

The firm has previously supplied meat for Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, but bosses today confirmed that they switched suppliers as soon as they became aware of problems.

Following a tip, the FSA carried out a spot check on the firm’s Birmingham site and then sent teams to other locations which also failed to meet regulations.

The FSA said: “There is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.

“However, we are concerned about the poor practices in place at their premises so that is why we have taken proportionate action to ensure no meat can leave their sites at present.

“We are continuing to assess the situation.”

Customers were up in arms when Wetherspoon scrapped steak from its menu without warning at its 900 pubs.

The decision meant servings of the Aberdeen Angus rump steak, sirloin steak and gammon were unavailable to order as customers were reportedly offered quinoa and halloumi salad alternatives instead.

One furious diner told how he stormed out of a branch in Scarborough when he learned of the Steak Club shortcomings.

James Jarvis, 27, told The Sun : “One of their suggestions was a quinoa salad with grilled halloumi. I came in for a steak — not a poncey salad!”

While Michael Rousell, 62, who visited a Wetherspoon in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, told the newspaper: “I can’t believe a multi- million pound organisation like Wetherspoon can’t sort this out ­— it beggars belief.”

A notice apparently pictured at one pub read: “Due to a supplier failure, the following meals are unavailable: 8oz and 14oz Aberdeen Angus rump steak, 8oz sirloin steak, 5oz and 10z gammon.”

Jamie Oliver the food safety gift that keeps on giving

Jamie Oliver is facing the worst Kitchen Nightmare in his life.

PAY-jamie-oliver-maggots-mainA 48-year-old man, who refused to be named was eating with a friend at Jamie’s Italian branch in Norwich on Wednesday. But when they were halfway through finishing their sumptuous meal, the gross thing started to happen, insects were starting to fall out from the ceiling.

The diner explains, at 3 AM “We got a table by the window and the food was nice but when we were halfway through the meal, maggots started falling on my head.”

While he presume that it’s just insects falling from the roof, he just brushed it off from his head. 

But as the so called insects starting to fall on the table, he realized the shocking truth.

“But then others fell onto the table. It was gross and we were shocked.”

In a statement released by the spokesperson for the restaurant.

“Earlier this week a single, isolated pest control incident occurred at our Norwich restaurant.

“The incident in question was dealt with immediately and is being fully investigated. At no point was the customer’s food affected and there appears to be no evidence of a wider problem.”

“All of our restaurants operate to a very high level of food safety and Jamie’s Italian Norwich retains a 5 star Food Hygiene Rating (the highest) from the local Environmental Health Office.”

 

Jamie Oliver’s crusade to prove U.S. food safety unfit for UK

Celebrity chef-type Jamie Oliver – who was a stand-out in our 2004 paper, Spot the Mistake about celebrity chefs and food safety mistakes — has been appearing with increasing irritation on a television advert for Woolworths in Australia, hawking dinnerware.

celebrity_chefs(5)“The plate makes the food look great” or something like that.

And when he’s not selling plates, Oliver is embarking on a campaign to stop the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which many feel will result in the watering down of government regulations and says with a straight face that U.K. restrictions on growth hormones and pesticides in food are stricter than those in the U.S.

Stick to dinnerware.

Veg growers slam Woolies’ Jamie Oliver fee in Australia, as they should

Maybe celebtard chef Jamie Oliver has some sort of chromosomal disorder: regardless, he knows shit about food safety and freely admits he doesn’t read.

Jamie OliverSo why Woolworths would hire him to be their spokesthingy in Australia is beyond baffling.

Ausveg says growers have received requests from Woolworths to voluntarily pay a charge towards the costs of the new “Jamie’s Garden” promotion, equal to 40 cents a crate of produce sold to the supermarket.

While Woolworths says the request is voluntary, Ausveg national marketing manager Simon Coburn says growers are not in a position to say no.

“The growers feel like they are in a position that, if they were to say no, they are worried that their contracts would be reduced or terminated completely,” Mr Coburn said.

He said growers already paid a charge of 2.5 per cent to five per cent of their sales back to Woolworths to cover marketing costs, and the 40-cent charge was in addition to that.

The cost would range from a few thousand dollars to $250,000 for a grower, depending on the size of their contract, he said.

“Some are telling us they don’t have 40 cents left in their margins,” Mr Coburn said.

Woolworths said it was disappointed Ausveg and Senator Xenophon had not contacted the supermarket before going public.

chobani.yogurtIn other celebtard news, Gwyneth Paltrow says that water has feelings and can purify itself if you talk real nice to it.

And Greek yogurt giant Chobani says there’s no science in their yogurt; just mold that causes recalls.

Hygiene problems at Jamie Oliver’s London butcher?

Jamie Oliver’s exclusive butcher’s shop in London was closed for several hours in Jan. after inspectors found serious hygiene problems including mouse droppings, mold on carcasses and out-of-date meat.

Barbecoa Butchers, located near St Paul’s Cathedral, closed its doors after public health officers scored it one out of five in January, although a Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group spokeswoman said the closure was voluntary and not enforced.

Jamie OliverIt reopened within 24 hours after the issue was addressed.

Carcasses hanging in basement chillers were found to have mold growing on them, slicers and vacuum packers were left dirty and expensive wagyu beef, marrow bone, oxtail, onglet, and lomo de cana, a Spanish-style pork, was found to be out of date, The Times reported.

In one case chicken breasts which had been deboned were removed from their box, vacuum packed and relabelled with a date set for a week later, City of London inspectors said. There was no safety management system in place.

The butcher’s shop, which supplies meat for the restaurant upstairs of the same name, was found to have dirty fridge door handles, inadequate washing facilities for staff, poor lighting, damaged flooring and a “heavy presence” of mouse droppings.

The Times said it used a freedom of information request to obtain details of the extent of the hygiene problems.

However, a spokeswoman for the Jamie Oliver Group said mold on ageing meat carcasses is normal, and is always removed before it is served to the customer.

That doesn’t address all the other issues in the report.

Jamie’s Ministry of Food to run mobile kitchen in Queensland

Anyone who proclaims they have a ministry – especially a ministry of food – is suspect.

UK chef-celebrity Jamie Oliver, who practices terrible food safety on his numerous TV shows, is bringing his ‘pukka tucker’ to the Gold Coast with the help of the Queensland government, running weekly cooking classes teaching locals how to prepare healthy, nutritious and tasty meals.

This is a terrible idea.

If Jamie Oliver wants to promote health cooking, good for him; that doesn’t mean that taxpayers of Queensland, like Amy, should support this shill and his terrible food safety, in any way.

It’s embarrassing.

Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young, told the Courier Mail the mobile kitchen would help Gold Coasters make healthier eating choices.

She provided no evidence to support such claims.

‘It’s pink, it’s meat,’ lean finely textured beef – LFTB yo – vs pink slime in public opinion

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Carl’s having fun in his retirement.

Not content with an audience of food safety nerds, Carl went big, on ABC News last night.

Bigger stage, bigger scrutiny; more exposure, more criticism (unless you’re Tom Hanks).

As seen in the ABC news clip, Gerald Zirnstein grinds his own hamburger these days. Why? Because this former United States Department of Agriculture scientist and, now, whistleblower, knows that 70 percent of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contains something he calls “pink slime.”

“Pink slime” is beef trimmings. Once only used in dog food and cooking oil, the trimmings are now sprayed with ammonia so they are safe to eat and added to most ground beef as a cheaper filler.

It was Zirnstein who, in an USDA memo, first coined the term “pink slime” and is now coming forward to say he won’t buy it (shurley shome mistake; wasn’t it the Jamie Oliver ministry? No).

“It’s economic fraud,” he told ABC News. “It’s not fresh ground beef. … It’s a cheap substitute being added in.”

Zirnstein and his fellow USDA scientist, Carl Custer, both warned against using what the industry calls “lean finely textured beef,” widely known now as “pink slime,” but their government bosses overruled them.

According to Custer, the product is not really beef, but “a salvage product … fat that had been heated at a low temperature and the excess fat spun out.”

The “pink slime” does not have to appear on the label because, over objections of its own scientists, USDA officials with links to the beef industry labeled it meat.

“The under secretary said, ‘it’s pink, therefore it’s meat,’” Custer told ABC News.

ABC News has learned the woman who made the decision to OK the mix is a former undersecretary of agriculture, Joann Smith. It was a call that led to hundred of millions of dollars for Beef Products Inc., the makers of pink slime.

Today, the meat types fought back.

Meatingplace.com disputed Custer’s claims that the product isn’t muscle but connective tissue. “But connective tissue isn’t red. Any redness (or pink, in this case) is associated with myoglobin — meaning it’s of muscle origin.”

It’s pink so it’s meat.

“We actually have equipment in place specifically designed to remove any sinew, cartilage, or connective tissue that may come in with raw materials, just like the companies that take trim and produce ground beef,” Rich Jochum, BPI’s corporate administrator told Meatingplace. “Our finished product is typically 94 percent lean.”

Ammonium hydroxide isn’t the only intervention. Cargill uses citric acid, just one of several alternatives to treat what it calls finely textured beef (FTB) to reduce the pathogen load.

The product is included in approximately 70 percent of all ground beef products, Cargill spokesman Mike Martin told Meatingplace.

Food-grade ammonium hydroxide is also commonly used as a direct food additive in baked goods, cheeses and chocolates.

Carl doesn’t have much to worry about if the best proponents can come up with is the tired but continually tested, change-the-language-change-the-mind strategy: lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) just isn’t as catchy as pink slime.

Industry types, if you’re proud of your product for its bacterial-reducing capabilities, promote it, reclaim and own the term pink slime; market it.

Instead it’ll be like the genetic engineering types who spent a fortune in the 1990s learning that the term genetic engineering scares people, so it’s better to call it biotechnology. The spokethingies will go to risk communication seminars, learn to express empathy, but still wear $1,000 Italian leather loafers (the douchebags don’t wear socks) and have sweaters tied around their neck for that common-man look (on sale now at J.C. Penny), all while trying to convince the masses of the virtues of lean finely textured ground beef.

That cull dairy cow has gone through the pink slime barn door.

Jamie Oliver too much food porn, not enough food safety

Celebrity chef-type Jamie Oliver – who was a stand-out in our 2004 paper, Spot the Mistake about celebrity chefs and food safety mistakes — may be trying to rid Los Angeles of chocolate milk, but health inspectors want him to pay more attention to crap in his U.K. restaurants.

The Mail Online reports Oliver has been criticized by health inspectors after a string of customers and staff suffered food poisoning at two of his Italian restaurants.

The TV chef came under fire when inspectors uncovered a catalogue of food safety failings at his chain of Jamie’s Italian eateries.

Two customers at the Reading branch were struck down with the potentially-fatal norovirus after eating dodgy shellfish.

Staff and customers were also struck down with suspected food poisoning at his restaurant in Cambridge.

The chef – named 967th in the Sunday Times Rich List with a personal fortune of £65 million – proudly boasts he is ‘passionate’ about good food ‘no matter what’.

But inspectors threatened legal action when they discovered undercooked burgers were being served to customers at the Leeds restaurant.

Staff at his Guildford restaurant were also criticised for exposing customers to the harmful E. coli bacteria.

The failures were uncovered after inspectors carried out unannounced spot-checks at 11 restaurants between November 2009 and November last year.

Oliver’s Ministry of Food website offers a range of tips for a ‘clean and safe’ kitchen.

But at Jamie’s Italian in Cardiff, which serves up to 1,000 people every day, a health inspector warned that careless preparation of uncooked chicken was ‘significantly increasing the risk of cross-contamination’.

Peter Berry, PR Manager at Jamie Oliver Limited, said that many of the issues were from over a year ago, adding, “These points are all relatively minor and have not seriously affected the generally excellent EHO ratings which all of the restaurants in the Jamie’s Italian collection are proud to display. Jamie’s Italian also employs two full-time in-house food safety specialists to ensure the highest standards.”

Thermometers would be a useful kitchen addition. Oliver doesn’t talk about thermometers on TV.