Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Monday, 25 August 2008 12:09 UK

Oliver criticises alcohol culture

Jamie Oliver
Celebrity Jamie Oliver has long campaigned for healthy eating

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has criticised the UK for its alcohol culture and poor cuisine.

In an interview with Paris Match magazine, Oliver suggested people in the UK cared more about getting drunk than they did about eating well.

The chef said there was a better variety of food in South African slums than in English towns and cities.

Oliver, 33, said Britons used to create "fabulous dishes" but added: "We have lost our traditions."

In the interview, the celebrity chef turned his attentions to the state of British cuisine and eating habits.

Commenting on the fact that 80% of British people did not sit around a table for dinner, the chef said: "It's true in London and in the big cities of the north. It is connected to the new poverty."

Oliver went on: "England is one of the richest countries in the world. The people I'm talking about have enormous televisions - a lot bigger than my own - the latest in mobile phones, cars and they go and get drunk in pubs at the weekend.

"Their poverty shows in the way they feed themselves."

Oliver said in his experience the cuisine of "people living in the slums of Soweto" was "more diverse" that that of Britons.

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