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Jamie Cooks Up A Treat

Published on October 14th 2004.

What an awful headline – nearly as bad as the weather in St Ann’s Square yesterday afternoon as the hordes queued up to catch a glimpse of the cheeky chappy that is Jamie Oliver.
Essex boy turned celebrity chef Oliver initially disappointed the crowds at his Waterstones book signing by failing to turn up on his vespa, but he surpassed himself by managing to be a good deal more accessible than a certain famous footballer who turned up (or didn’t turn up depending on which way you look at it) last week.
A crowd of around 150 people braved the elements to see the man formerly known as the Naked Chef. Most of the queue seemed to be preparing themselves to be eaten by marinating themselves in the Manchester rain. Despite being ready for the oven by the time I got to the front, I wasn’t greeted by a flaming furnace, just a firm handshake.
As has become usual with book signings in Manchester, there was the usual shunting through as soon as possible, but Jamie was certainly keener spirited than your average celeb and had a bit of banter with most people who walked past. He even managed to pucker up for one of the girls in the queue who had started blarting long before she got to the front – whether this was the fact that she was soaked to the skin or that she was excited about meeting the celebrity chef, I'm not sure.
Oliver was there to promote his new book ‘Jamie’s Dinners’ – a feast of recipes to suit families none the less! At first glance it looks set to be the latest surefire hit in an ever extending line of recipe books from him. The books marks the fifth in Oliver’s series, following hot on the heels of ‘The Naked Chef’, ‘The Return of the Naked Chef’, ‘Happy Days with the Naked Chef’ and ‘Jamie’s Kitchen’.
With 120 recipes in it we mustn’t grumble, there’s a hell of a lot of variety in this book and there’s certainly no let up in the high standard of recipe Jamie provides. Judging by this latest effort, the message is clear: Oliver – Please sir, we want some more!
According to the inlay, the book is “like no other cookbook you’ve ever picked up.” In terms of the price it is - RRPing at £20 a pop, why are cookbooks so expensive? Surely you don’t need to be charging that much Jamie me old mucker. When the meals themselves often cost a small fortune to put together anyway, it’s hardly appealing to the man on the street.
With Gordo rubbing his knees in anticipation of Nigella Lawson’s visit tomorrow (phwaor – Gordo), the security had better be a bit tighter at Waterstones to prevent the big man’s libido taking over and forcing its way past the barriers.
Tim Gough

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