2012 was another amazing year for Jamie. From new projects through the Foundation – as well as a name change – to new restaurants and of course a new book and two TV shows. Here we chart the last 12 months and look forward to an even more amazing 2013 – Happy New Year to you all.
2012 was kicked off with the announcement that Logan City was to be the first of many communities across Queensland to benefit from nutritious cooking classes, following the announcement that it was to be the first to host Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen. In an Australian first, commencing on 27th January 2012, the purpose built kitchen classroom on wheels commenced delivering a five week basic cooking course, comprising of one 90 minute class per week. Participants throughout the City learned Jamie’s hints and shortcuts to cooking simple, nutritious and tasty meals using fresh ingredients. The course also covered meal planning, budgeting and shopping tips as well as key nutritional information. Food Revolution also teamed up with Global Mojo, a socially conscious technology company, to help generate funds for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.
Jamie announced that, on behalf of The Good Guys and Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia, in March he would host an intimate cooking class at the very first Australian Ministry of Food centre, located in Ipswich, Queensland. The cooking class was set to play host to 20 participants; a group to be made up of competition winners and lucky audience members to be selected from the crowd on the day. The general public would have the opportunity to secure themselves a ticket to watch the exclusive cooking class and also go in the running to be involved in a once in a lifetime opportunity – to cook live with Jamie Oliver. Jamie’s Ministry of Food North East also, in February, provided a demonstration of Chicken Fajitas, Salsa and Guacamole for the launch event of ‘Change 4 Life East Newcastle’.
In March, Chiswick was the latest addition to the chilled-out but exciting dining experience of Jamie Oliver and Chris Bianco’s super-cool, super-comfortable, retro and locally-sourcing Union Jacks restaurants. Jamie said: “It’s about grabbing it back,” he says. “It’s also about Chris’ perfect flatbread and Jamie’s knowledge and bringing it all together – there’s nothing like this on the high street.” It was also a very special month for Fifteen – nothing less than its 10th birthday. In one of the most memorable nights in the 10-year history of Jamie Oliver’s flagship restaurant, five of the original graduates from the first group of apprentices returned to the Fifteen kitchen together for the first time since 2002 and created a fantastic meal for 65 invited guests.
In April, proud apprentices from Fifteen Cornwall were given an amazing send off at Truro Cathedral as they began the next step of their journey. Jamie himself handed out hard-earned dog tags to the 13 graduates after flying down from London. Each graduate spoke to the massive audience, thanking Jamie and his Fifteen team for the opportunity; many were saved from a slippery slope by the scheme run by the Newquay restaurant. Food producers were also thanked for the pride they took in their supplies for the restaurant.
Jamie’s pal and legendary food photographer legend David Loftus also published his cookbook ‘Around the World in 80 Dishes’ and, as you would expect with a title like that, it is an internationally-flavoured belter. With photographs so beautiful you could eat them, recipes so evocative you are transported to all the culinary corners of the world, and inspiration taken from the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days, David’s book showcases recipes from top names, including our Jamie.
Jamie’s call for new academies to follow the same compulsory nutritional standards as other schools was also widely supported by a vast majority of educational staff in April. Having surveyed over 500 members, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that 82 per cent of them agreed with Jamie and that many of them were worried about schools reducing portion size, due to budgetary restrictions.
In May, Jamie was honoured by USA’s Harvard School of Public Health for his work in combating childhood obesity. Jamie received the school’s prestigious Healthy Cup Award in recognition of his ‘substantial achievements in working to end the childhood obesity epidemic’ at a sold-out lecture and reception at the Joseph P. Martin Conference Center in Boston. Jamie said: “I’m honoured to receive the Healthy Cup Award this year. I’ve seen how the power of television can inspire people to make positive changes and I will continue to make programs and speak up about important food issues to rally the public.”
Schools, businesses, chefs, restaurants and food lovers all over the world came together for 2012’s Food Revolution Day on May 19th, in a staggering success that rallied 664 cities, 62 countries, 460 public events and 541 dinner parties.
Jamie also came out top of a poll asking UK’s home chefs whose cooking style they can most relate to. One-in-four home cooks believe making quick and tasty food is their priority and pointed to Jamie as their inspiration.
Jim, our online editor, also wrote a fantastic nostalgia-drenched piece singing the praises of the Central-St-Giles Union Jacks – well worth reading if you’re on the fence about the lauded flatbread restaurants!
On June 30th a decade of Fifteen Restaurant was celebrated with an enormous street party. The Saturday saw the road outside London’s Fifteen buzzing with music, delicious food and stalls organised by the guys from eat.st. collective. The party was a hit, and a great way to celebrate the success of a restaurant that, through good food, hard graft and dedication, has changed the lives of hundreds of young people.
Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals was also announced in June; a book dedicated to finding time-saving kitchen shortcuts. All the recipes had been tested meticulously by cooks of all standards to ensure they beat that 15-minute buzzer and, as you would expect from Jamie, inspiration came from many corners of the culinary world. The dishes featured pack a substantial flavour wallop, head-swimming aromas and vibrant, gorgeous colours.
Jamie’s Big Feastival with Alex James – a unique and ever-growing annual celebration of food and music – was also announced in June to be including The Guillemots, Paloma Faith, The Noisettes, Gaz Coombes, Sister Sledge, Texas, The Producers, The Cuban Brothers and Razorlight, as well as a huge number of the country’s best chefs and food gurus hosting demos and pop-up restaurants.
Part 2 of Jamie’s Year coming soon…..