I’m starting to worry about Jamie Oliver. Seriously. We all know the rabidly enthusastic chef, love him, hate him or worship him there is barely a moment when he’s out of our sight and not giving us the latest update in his plan to save the world. This is a guy who probably needs to chill out just a little bit. I’m starting to worry about his Messiah complex and think that maybe he might need to spend a little time at home with his family and kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the man, I would love to chat to him over a pint, I like the cooking shows, I love that husbandface makes many lovely Jamie recipes. I like eating at his restaurants when the cash flow allows and I was impressed with the whole 15 idea. Changing the school meal system, well someone had to do it, getting the whole of America to eat sensibly might have been a wonderful ambition too far and now we have him trying to transform the school system by planting an eclectic bunch of people in the public gaze with no training into a class of students who have had issues at school. Unsurprisingly they find it hard and, judging from the first programe at least, aren’t all that good at it. The most important thing I think we learn from Jamie’s latest world saving endeavours is that teaching is a skill, not everyone can do it, it requires training, a constantly creative inventive brain and commitment. It requires you to be more than a knowledge fountain (watching David Starkey actively insult a student after they fail to be engaged with his mumbling about artifacts was awkward viewing). Maybe encouraging actual teachers in their jobs might have been a better thing to do.
I admire Jamie for trying but I think maybe, just maybe, the time has come to stick with cooking and with maybe seeing his family from time to time. I’m torn between applauding him for his passion and ambition and telling him to chill out, have a cup of tea and go play with his kids for a while. Sure. he’s a one man world saviour but surely even saviours have limits? As one writer in the Guardian this weekend pointed out- where next, Jamie transforms the NHS? Jamie enters the Houses of Parliament? Jamie sorts out peace in the Middle East?