Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is now partaking in woke culture by revealing that he employs a team of “cultural appropriation” advisors to keep his recipes in line with the heightened sensitivities of the 21st century.
The British celebrity chef, who once hosted his own popular TV show and owns multiple high-end restaurant properties, has previously been subject to cultural appropriation-related criticism, with food bloggers condemning him from profiting off the backs of black and brown people by using ethnic cuisines in his menu.
If you’re white, you’re not allowed to cook sushi, kung pao chicken, rogan josh, or jambalaya without being condemned for your insensitivity and colonialism.
Much like editors at major publications now employ sensitivity readers to ensure that the authors do not drive outside of their own lanes when writing stories about fictional characters from ethnic backgrounds, so too have celebrity chefs been forced to hire advisors to inform them that certain herbs and spices are forbidden depending on the color of your skin.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Oliver said that he hires “teams of culture appropriation specialists” to vet his recipes and to make sure that they are inoffensive, the Daily Mail reported.
The celebrity chef said that he did not want to offend anyone with his recipes.
Oliver, 46, said his “empire roast chicken” recipe from 2012 would not be culturally acceptable today despite it being a “bloody good recipe.”
“Your immediate reaction is to be defensive and say, ‘For the love of God, really?’ And then you go, ‘Well, we don’t want to offend anyone,’” Oliver said.
In 2018, Oliver was accused of cultural appropriation by the Labour Party’s shadow women equalities minister, Dawn Butler, for serving “punchy jerk rice,” which they claimed was offensive to Jamaicans, Washington Post reported.
“The decision to label the microwaveable rice ‘jerk’ has been criticized, because the product doesn’t contain many of the ingredients traditionally used in a Jamaican jerk marinade,” reported the BBC at the time.
“I’m just wondering do you know what Jamaican jerk actually is?” Butler said. “This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”
Speaking to the Sunday Times, French chef Raymond Blanc, said that if he was to create a recipe from another country he would first get permission from the people living there.
“It is for us professionals to do that in a manner that is not offensive,” said the French chef, but noted accusations of cultural appropriation should not always been seen as a negative, suggesting that it could sometimes be seen as “cultural enrichment.”
In 2021, a group of social justice activists led by AV Club writer Roslyn Talusan attempted to cancel British cookbook author Pippa Middlehurst for publishing a book on dumplings and noodles.
According to Talusan, Middlehurst, an established chef, was appropriating “Asian” culture by exploring the traditional cooking methods behind wonton noodles and other popular Chinese dishes.
The effort to cancel Middlehurst backfired on the writer after critics pointed out that not only was Middlehurst not being disrespectful to Chinese culture, but also that she attended Lanzhou Noodle School to learn how to cook the cuisine following over a decade of immersing her education in learning how to produce East and South East Asian cuisine.