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Starkoch im Interview Jamie Oliver: Just fuckin' eat it!

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Could it turn out that your first restaurant in Germany is something different?

No, no, no. I really want a „fifteen“ in Berlin. But I would also like to open one of my own restaurants in Germany the next eighteen month. Which is a completely different concept. I've partnered up with a young american chef, who is the country's leading barbecue chef. And what we have done is, we've taken barbecue and gone right back in history. What your great-, great-, great-granddad would have been cooking on.

Open fire?

Lugs, Fire, Charcoal, Spit-Roasting. Whole animals in pits. Smoking, curing.

Medieval atmosphere?

Not medieval the way you go there. You want to take your wife there, you want to look sexy, you want to put a nice clean shirt on. And you love a special night. The restaurant is fresh. The cooking: There is no gas, no electricity. It's just coal and fire. But I am not sure which city to go to. So if you have any advise I would take it.

Something people will hardly try at home. German chefs often complain that people buy the books but only a few percent of people will actually cook one of those recipes. Is that true for your books, too?

My quota of people using books is larger.

Why is that?

Because I am not in chef-whites. I've ever, never, well, I've rarely ever done a book or a programme from a context of a chef. If you are nervous of cooking, if you've never been taught to cook, if you can't cook, then learning from a chef is quite scary. Michelin-Stars mean nothing. It's just scary. When you are a chef at home you don't sit there in chef-whites, you sit there in normal gear. I haven't met a chef in my business that spends the amount of time with the public in their houses, relentlessy for months and months and months. I don't make a hundred shows a year, I don't make a ninety shows a year, I don't even make a thirty shows a year. The most I ever did was 24 and that was last year and that was the first time in ten years. I do six shows a year and spend two years making four one-hour-documentaries. I am not sure what I want to say really,....

You wanted to explain why your recipes look simple.

If you talk off-records to publishers how much they do get involved in their books. Is it their hands in the books in the step-by-steps? You will be shocked that a lot of them don't. And if you ask them when they reprint, how many corrections they put in, because they are not fucking right, well... Every recipe I write costs me 1500 pounds to check. I let 'em test by seven people and two of them are complete strangers that I've never met before.

My mom – a fairly good cook – loves your recipes becausce she thinks they are so simple. However, some of them are hardly different to those in other books, your Sauce Bolognese for instance, it's not easier than traditional recipes. Quite a bit of chopping up things.

Are you telling me that chopping up things is hard?

No, but it's not much else but a straightforward italian recipe.

Yeah, yeah (sehr gedehnt ausgesprochen). Of course. But all good cooking is straighforward.

But aren't you lying then to the audience when you suggest that everything is simpler than they thought? Wouldn't it be fair to say: Cooking needs time?

Man, you can't say to me: „Am I lying to people? Have I based ten years of career on lying?“ I don't know. Have you based ten years of your career on a lie? Of course not!

Well, not lying may...

To meet you halfway in your answer: I spend a lot of time with all sorts of people from the public: Rich people, no time, single mums, people on benefits, unemployed etc., etc., etc.. If you look at the next book I've written – that's soooo far back. That is so fucking basic. It's step by step, pictures for every recipe. I don't agree with what you've just said, but if I am gonna be generous and meet you halfway then: This year I did have a realization that maybe I've spent ten years preaching to the converted. Do you know what I mean by that? It's a bit of a british saying. They'll gonna fuck cooking anyway. I just nudged them.

....and then?...

Then I kinda start of thinking: „Should I really pat myself on the back for teaching people that would cook anyway?“ Surely instead of being excited about the good things I should really be obsessing and focusing in my life on the people that really need to fucking cook, that never have been taught, the people that spending way too much money for processed food and even Take-Away. I can cook you a free-range chicken with all the trimmings, roast-dinner for four to six people for 12 pounds fifty. And for that you can't even buy a Kfc-Fucking-Bargain-Barrel-Bucket of chicken. And God knows where the chicken comes from.

What are the consequenses?

I don't what the financial situation of Germany is right now. England is like almost immediately in the past seven months in a recession. And actually quite a lot of that recesssion is quite food-orientated. I could never have dreamed of that. The price of rice, the price of pasta, flour – commodities. Everyone spends has gone up 15 percent. So the bolognese is helpful because you can use cheap cuts of meat and take a little meat along the way. This time is important now. The people that are not well off, that have never been taught to cook are really in a dark place right now because they can't nourish their families properly.

What makes a simple dish a great dish?

Pfffff..... Just make it properly. Even just cooking a beautiful steak properly. If you watch 20 people cooking a steak they do it so many ways. They put it in cool pans, hottish pans, you know, having that confidence to fucking heat that pan up seasoning it nicely and then cook it fast and let it rest. I think just getting it right, that's the tough thing. Books can just do that much. They'll get you from A-Z, at least, that's what they should do. TV is nice, it can take you on a journey, it can teach you stuff but you can't smell it. Once it's off, that's it. You have to take notes. The best thing in the world is one person and one person. Like when I was taught by my mother or friends and friends. That's the holy grail. I guess, that's what we guys are making up for these days.

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