Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Oliver queries 'modern-day poverty'

Jamie Oliver says poorer families are spending money on bigger TVs rather than better food

Most of the poorest families in Britain do not know how to feed themselves properly and choose expensive rather than cheap options, TV chef Jamie Oliver has said.

The star, 38, who has an estimated fortune of £150 million, said that he finds it "hard to talk about modern-day poverty".

He cited a family he met while making one of his previous TV shows who ate unhealthy, fast food but had splashed out on a huge TV.

Jamie said that poor communities in other countries had a better grasp of good food.

He told the Radio Times: "Some of the most inspirational food in the world comes from areas where people are financially challenged. The flavour comes from a cheap cut of meat, or something that's slow-cooked, or an amazing texture's been made out of leftover stale bread."

The campaigning chef added: "I'm not judgmental, but I've spent a lot of time in poor communities, and I find it quite hard to talk about modern-day poverty.

"You might remember that scene in Ministry Of Food, with the mum and the kid eating chips and cheese out of Styrofoam containers, and behind them is a massive TV. It just didn't weigh up."

Jamie, whose new Channel 4 show, Jamie's Money Saving Meals, is designed to help people save on their food bill, added: "The fascinating thing for me is that seven times out of 10, the poorest families in this country choose the most expensive way to hydrate and feed their families. The ready meals, the convenience foods."

The Naked Chef said: "I meet people who say, 'You don't understand what it's like.' I just want to hug them and teleport them to the Sicilian street cleaner who has 25 mussels, 10 cherry tomatoes, and a packet of spaghetti for 60 pence, and knocks out the most amazing pasta. You go to Italy or Spain and they eat well on not much money. We've missed out on that in Britain, somehow."

Jamie, who had a partnership with Sainsbury's for 11 years and campaigned to improve school dinners, said: "One of the other things we look at in the (TV) series is going to your local market, which is cheaper, anyway, but also they don't dictate size. From a supermarket you're going to buy a 200g bag of this or a 400g pack of that. If you're going past a market, you can just grab 10 mangetout for dinner that night, and you don't waste anything."

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