Following on from yesterday’s round-up of the first half of Jamie’s incredible year in 2012, we’ve totted up the last six months of hard work, passion and excitement that have gone into making it one of the most memorable years of Jamie’s career. 2013 is set to hold even bigger things, and we can’t wait to share them with you. Happy New Year, one and all.
July saw Jamie and many of his friends, colleagues and supporters given the opportunity to run with the Olympic torch. Jamie said “I carried it myself in Essex and it was a very weird, but amazing experience. What made it even better was that I was given the opportunity to hand out chances for people working on our campaigns to take the torch; it was giving them an experience that money can’t buy.” Danny McCubbin, Communities Editor for Jamie’s web team, carried the flame through the iconic St Pancras station to the cheers of thousands of well-wishers. “The run was quite simply overwhelming, but the really amazing and humbling part of it all was the bus. I was sitting with some amazing people who have done incredible and brave things and their stories were extraordinary.”
We also had the fourth member of the Union Jacks family – Jamie and Chris Bianco’s unique flatbread restaurants – open, smack bang in the middle of the world-famous Covent Garden covered market amid the crowds and the noise of street performers. Jamie’s Italian in departures at Gatwick Airport also finally took off, overlooking the runway. The beautiful restaurant is unlike anything else airside at the North Terminal and thanks to its bakery is a real game changer, according to Jamie. Not only is there a restaurant and a bakery, but across from Jamie’s Italian, overlooking the terminal concourse, is a Union Jacks bar. You simply cannot miss it, thanks to two enormous dinosaur murals on the exterior by artist and Jamie’s pal Jay Jay Burridge.
The big news for August was that the Jamie Oliver Foundation changed its name to the Better Food Foundation. The Foundation continues the important work in food education, but the vision of the charity is to join up with like-minded charities, celebrities, experts and individuals across the world to create and nurture a truly global food movement at a time when the world faces a unique crisis – never before have more people been dying as a result of over-eating than through lack of food, and rising obesity continues to affect the health of hundreds of millions. The core projects for the Better Food Foundation are the Fifteen Apprenticeship programme (which celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2012) and the six Ministry of Food Centres across the UK, teaching communities to cook in Rotherham, Bradford, Leeds, Newcastle, Alnwick and East London, and the Kitchen Garden Project in UK schools. The Better Food Foundation is working on the next Food Revolution Day, to be held in spring 2013.
August also saw the first children’s fashion collection from Jools Oliver hit the shelves of Mothercare. Jools – the 37 year old model, wife of Jamie Oliver, and mum of four – turned business woman and fashion designer to create the Little Bird collection, comprising of newborn and children’s clothes, nursery bedding and accessories and gifts, all of which is exclusive to Mothercare and available nationwide. You can read Jool’s blog here, and for more information on her exclusive Mothercare range visit the Little Bird page on the Mothercare website.
Famous artists and designers including Tracey Emin, Quentin Blake and Paul Smith also designed some beautiful, crazy and unique chairs to help raise funds for Jamie’s charity, the Better Food Foundation. All the creatives were given identical chairs to cover with their designs which were bid for through an online auction. Other designers and artists who kindly donated their work were Burberry, Christopher Bailey, Barnaby Purdy, INSA, Jay Jay Burridge, Jonathan Yeo, Nunzio Citro, Sarah Burton for McQueen, Ricardo Cinalli, Waterford Crystal and Liberty. The artists’ beautiful creations include 1970s cookbook images, dragons and elaborate hand-stitched flowers. All money raised went directly into the Better Food Foundation, and speaking of fundraising for it, we also saw the lineup of Jamie’s biggest, baddest Feastival to date finalised; including names like Paloma Faith, Guillemots, Lucy Rose, Razorlight and Texas.
September was big – it saw Jamie’s now-#1 bestseller 15 Minute Meals released in the UK. The book has been an overwhelming success so far, selling 373,000 copies in the UK by December, outselling JK Rowling’s newest novel, and making it to Christmas #1 for the third year running.
Mid-September also saw Jamie’s Business Editor Jonny Garrett cycle an incredible 269.5 miles overnight, from Fifteen Cornwall to Fifteen London, to raise money for the foundation.
There was also the small matter of the sell-out Feastival held at Alex James’ Cotswolds Farm. It was an incredible weekend of food, music, family and friends – you can book tickets now for 2013, with all profits going to the Better Food Foundation.
The cobbled street outside Jamie’s Fifteen London restaurant was also turned into the biggest street food cook-off the capital has ever seen. Talented and innovative traders raced to London on September 15th and 16th to take part in the 2012 British Street Food Awards. Fifteen hosted the awards as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. Jamie said “British street food is one of the hottest things happening right now, and it’s great to see a wave of new and inventive cooks coming through. I’m so excited that we’re going to be right at the heart of this fantastic event.”
In October, Jamie and his food team teamed up with Freedom Foods to launch their own range of foods exclusive to Boots. Jamie also released a stylish and practical set of accessories with Philips to help people create recipes from scratch and with little fuss; in fact, they are his perfect tools as well – he used them in the creation of his 15-Minute Meals TV programme. The range includes a Blender, Hand Blender, Food Processor and Steamer. Jamie said of the Philips range: “I set out to design a range that I would be genuinely happy to have and use in my own kitchen. Every tool has a splash of cornflower blue, and is meant to be shown off rather than hidden away in cupboards. “They are really easy to use and I can’t wait for people to try them, as I truly believe they will help busy families get more fresh food on the table every day. I really feel we’ve struck gold with these new tools.” Jamie said he wanted to help busy parents, hungry students and aspiring young chefs out there with the range’s simplicity, power and beauty.
It may not yet have lived the long life of Fifteen, but November saw the second birthday of Jamie’s beloved Barbecoa. Despite a historic, chaotic opening night, thanks to a love of traditional cooking methods the butchery restaurant has never faltered again. Now Barbecoa is a bustling business, packed with delighted diners every day of the week. Its menu is loaded with gorgeous modern dishes, cooked using methods around for hundreds of years. The meat the restaurant work so hard to find and dry-age to perfection brings people back time and time again to the restaurant and the butchery – where the passion that got them through that first night still burns on.
From their base in the cafe on Southend Pier, Jamie and Jimmy Doherty also embarked on their culinary adventures throughout the Continent with their new show Food Fight Club, taking the best of British food to Europe to take on our neighbors head-to-head. With the help of A-list celebrities, the series picked a food theme each episode and left Jamie and Jimmy Doherty to find out just how good the Brits are at produce. Beer to Belgium, Sausages to Germany, cakes to Italy and cheese to France, all judged ‘impartially’ against the best they had to offer.
It was to be a big month for Jamie on TV, in fact, as 15 Minute Meals’ accompanying show went out on Channel 4. Dishes with balanced nutrition, beautiful colours and amazing flavours from all over the culinary world were whipped up daily by Jamie on the show, during which he talked through all the recipes from the book, step by step, in his inimitable style. Watching him whip up these beautiful plates was also enhanced by the 15-Minute Meals app, which has incidentally now been downloaded in excess of 400,000 times.
December saw Jamie’s fight to help people become better informed about their food enter a new and exciting phase in Australia; the first Victorian Jamie’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen officially launched in Melbourne, with a public celebration which took place among a pop-up veggie patch on the rooftop of the car park at Federation Square. The Mobile Kitchen, a 15 metre long, 10 metre wide and 25 tonne purpose built, kitchen classroom, will set off on a two and a half year journey around Victoria, starting in Bendigo on Friday 11th January. It will bed down in the community for ten weeks delivering a five-week cooking course before its sets off to Whittlesea, followed by Cardinia and Latrobe.
As the year began winding down, it could hardly be said Jamie was doing likewise, releasing a new set of exclusive winter-themed breakfast videos straight from his back garden and numerous top ten lists to help out with Christmas. Alongside this, his online team’s hard work over the last months of the year finally came to fruition with the release of Jamie’s gorgeous new website – the perfect way to bring in a brilliant new year.