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Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 16:24 GMT
Oliver puts Naked Chef 'to bed'
Jamie Oliver
Oliver admits that fame had brought its problems
TV chef Jamie Oliver has said that the Naked Chef series has "gone to bed" and that, instead, he will be opening his own restaurant school in January.

Talking to Sue Lawley on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, he said that the venture would be a training ground for new young chefs - and that their progress would make another TV programme.

"We're doing a programme which is a lot more documentary, and still six recipes a programme, but it's half-documentary.

"It's basically about setting up this restaurant with 16 kids that have come from slightly dodgy backgrounds."

'Training up'

The celebrity chef said that he had learned much of his trade when still a child, and wanted to give others a similar opportunity.

Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton
Oliver married Juliette Norton in June 2000
"The only criteria is they want to cook, that's it - if they can't chop I don't care.

"It's basically about these 16 kids, not about me - training them up, getting them up to a standard and seeing what we can do in a year."

Oliver, 26, admitted to Lawley that his sudden TV fame had brought its own problems.

"What's made me unhappy is learning the dos and the don'ts of the press, which I'm still learning," he said.

'Nervous'

But Oliver also said that he had come to enjoy some of the high-profile shows he had presented, such as at the Apollo in Hammersmith, London.

Jamie Oliver
Oliver: "Passionate about food"
"I found out now that I'm never nervous if I know what I'm doing.

"So I was nervous for the first couple of shows because I wasn't really sure - there were effects and there were VTs, there were set moves and stuff like that, lighting, and I had to be aware of all of that.

"That was pretty tough but I actually found out that the medium of stage and cooking can work, it has worked - and everyone that said it wouldn't work and you wouldn't sell out three and a thousand tickets was wrong, which is great."

Chance

Oliver was discovered at London's River Café restaurant during the filming of a TV documentary.

The chef told Sue Lawley that he came to the public's notice quite by chance: "I think the bit that did it was a night when I wasn't supposed to be working.

"I was doing the hardest section really, like risotto, pasta, very fast, quick cooking, busy, busy and I had lots of food on there, four dishes I had on.

"Basically they were in the way and I was quite arrogant to them, but I was passionate - I kind of pushed the camera out of the way and said, 'Look, sorry mate'.

"The next day there were loads of phone calls."

Oliver, who is now consultant chef at Monte's in Knightsbridge, chose Roachford's Only To Be With You as the one record he would choose for his Desert Island stay - and failed to choose a book because he admitted to Sue Lawley he didn't "actually read books".

See also:

17 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Dressing down for Naked Chef
24 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Naked Chef ties the knot
11 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Jamie Oliver's naked sounds
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