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Jamie's Italian Stratfor

“I think I have a pretty good work-life balance now, but it’s taken a long time to get here”

The forever young Jamie Oliver on the demands of being a celebrity chef, his love for family and his new set of priorities in his career’s latest successful phase

What’s keeping you busy these days?
There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening at the moment. Aside from opening two beautiful restaurants in Delhi, I recently launched a book, Superfood, globally. I’m also starting to work on next year’s Food Revolution Day, which I hope is going to be the biggest and widest reaching one yet.

 What is your biggest achievement?
It has to be Jamie’s Italian. When I opened my first restaurant in Oxford, I never dreamed that I’d one day be opening restaurants across the world. I’m incredibly proud of it.

And your biggest regret?
I try not to have regrets, because I think they can be a big hindrance. I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learnt from them and moved on.

One resolution you break often?
Probably working too late. I try to head home at a normal time these days, but it doesn’t always happen.

What is the one skill every man should have?
Knowing how to cook. There’s no excuse.

What is the one thing you always desire?
More time with my family. I think I have a pretty good work-life balance now, but it’s taken a long time to get here.

Jamie's Italian Stratfor, Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, burnt
Jamie’s Italian Stratfor

Share a life-changing experience.
Opening Fifteen, 12 years ago. I had to put everything on the line for it, including my own home. A lot of people thought I was mad, but I pulled it off somehow. It took everything I had, but 12 years on, it’s still going, taking in new apprentices every year. I recently went to a beautiful, acclaimed restaurant in Amsterdam, run by one of our apprentices from Fifteen Amsterdam. It’s moments like that which assure you it’s still all completely worthwhile.

What is your favourite place on earth?
My beautiful farmhouse in Essex. It’s surrounded by countryside and it’s where I can get away from it all.

What irritates you most about people?
I don’t think I’m easily irritated, to be honest. I don’t like lies.

Who are the people who have inspired you in life?
My parents and my friend and mentor, Gennaro Contaldo

What is the word or phrase you overuse the most?
That’s probably one to ask my team.

If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would
it be?
My youngest kid, Buddy’s. He has a great old time.

What are your fears?
Not doing all of my team proud. Of course, I feel the huge burden of responsibility and I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many brilliant people.

What makes you happy?
Sitting down at the table to enjoy lunch with my whole family and lots of friends

Could you share your favourite memories?
Family holidays – back when I was a kid, to taking our own kids down to Cornwall each summer nowadays.

Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, burnt