Jamie Oliver: Real Guts


Jamie Oliver slaughters lamb, from Kent News

While most American chefs shy away from confronting animal rights groups over their attempts to ban foie gras, British Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver has taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, by slaughtering a lamb on his TV show, Jamie's Great Escape. Said the straightforward Jamie: "A chef who's cooked 2,000 sheep should kill at least one; otherwise you're a fake." Then he helped skin and cook it.

Some British animal rights groups like Compassion in World Farming objected because the lamb was not stunned first. Others like Animal Aid said stunning makes no real difference in the suffering of the animal.

Jamie's response? "It's a beautiful creature but it is tasty and we are the top of the food chain."

Channel 4 went out of its way to warn viewers of the upcoming scene. Nevertheless, "The programme reflected the way many animals in Italy are reared and butchered and aimed to make the audience think about how their own food is sourced," the TV channel told the UK's Mirror newspaper.

This is a good point -- especially if in this country we support Alice Water's Edible School Yard and similar programs that aim to teach children where their food comes from and respect for what they eat. In that view, Jamie's on-camera carnage is precisely the kind of accurate reportage we need for our children.

All that said, Jamie did find the whole experience difficult, telling the show's audience beforehand:
I do not know if I can do it, man. They want me to kill a lamb. I have never done that before.
From the home page of his TV show, it seems that Jamie not only got over it (if, as a chef he ever had qualms about slaughtering an animial) and even came up with a grisly poke at himself (see image, below.)

homepage of Jamie's Great Escape on November 14, 2005

Silencing that lamb should not hurt Jamie's image too much, especially after championing the improvement of British school lunches (see previous article).

Related articles:
Daily Mail (UK)
Mirror (UK)
Brand Republic (UK)
Evening Standard (UK)
Independent (South Africa)
Mercury (Australia)
Courier-Mail (Australia)
New York Times

Previous articles:
Jamie Oliver: School Lunch
Today's Kitchen Cookbook
Back to School: Mollie Katzen's Salad People
Alice Waters: Ms. Smith Goes to Washington
July 4: East Meets West
Wall Street Journal: Beef over Chef Sponsorship?
Amazon UK's Steamy Xmas Chefs

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Anonymous chef 'em out said...

He's right.

7:54 AM, November 24, 2005  
Anonymous mitchMopes said...

I'm missing where it took real guts to do what he did? Do you see the look on Jamie's face as he slits the lambs throat? He's miserable and scared. Courage as a celebrity to do it? Yes, I'd agree with that and I hope the segment, albeit a walt disney version of animal slaughter, paints a small picture of what is actually on peoples dinner plates. When one does not need meat to survive (and 99% of the populations do not) then meat is a luxury item - thus I consider the killing of animals to be murder and not slaughter.

5:33 PM, September 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a cook, not a (primitive) butcher. Disgusting.

2:20 PM, November 30, 2007  
Anonymous DoItRightOrGoHome said...

Wow. I don't care how it fucking tastes; his hotness factor just moved from supernova past zero into the negative range. I challenge arrogant chefs everywhere who reinforce eating meat as the center of the universe to evolve a conscience and step away from the killing.

7:02 PM, March 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree, Jamie showed real guts! Killing an animal that can’t defend it’s self. True bravery!

1:18 PM, March 15, 2008  
Blogger I'ts Cosmic Rock... said...

It's just the way it is. If I had been a farmer or lived out in the wood or in the middle of nowhere, I would have to do it aswell, now I let someone else do it in 'my place'only the Kosher way..nothing wronge with it.Jamie IS a cook in every sence of the word: he was born like that, just like we all are...and there's nothing wronge with that either; it's natural.

7:44 AM, January 14, 2009  

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