The final episode of the survival series Alone airs at 9pm, and you imagine that after struggling to find food for weeks, those still left in the competition would love to tuck into some of the dishes Oliver serves up during his latest series.
In recent years, the ever-popular chef has concentrated on demonstrating how to prepare tasty, nutritious meals on a budget via such shows as Together, One-Pan Wonders, £1 Wonders and Easy Christmas.
Those programmes have been ratings-winners while providing inspiration for those who want something mouth-watering, but don’t have the time, energy or finances to create a dish Oliver himself might serve up in a restaurant. The accompanying books have also helped turn him into the top-selling non-fiction author in UK history with sales of up to 50 million books.
But now he’s following in the well-trodden footsteps of plenty of other chefs by heading out on his travels while exploring the culinary delights of foreign destinations.
In the week that Michael Caines shows Fred Sirieux around Bordeaux in Remarkable Places to Eat over on More4, Oliver embarks on a four-part exploration of the Mediterranean, which will take in Tunisia, Spain and France after setting sail in Greece. His aim is to give viewers a flavour from a variety of settings, including diverse urban areas and stunning coastal locations, meeting people from a range of cultures and learning a few things along the way.
His first stop is Thessaloniki, a bustling university city on the northern mainland which is widely regarded as the nation’s culinary capital. From there he samples the unique ingredients available on the island of Skopelos, where he also lends a local farmer a hand.
Feeling inspired by the modern meze plates he found in the city and by the island’s more traditional dishes, Oliver creates his own taste of Greece – a smoky aubergine flatbread and spatchcocked lemony chargrilled chicken with tzatziki and crispy-bottomed rice.
Those recipes are the first in a mouth-watering selection that will also include crispy prawn parcels drizzled with harissa dreamed up in Tunisia, a juicy pork chop with chargrilled peppers courtesy of Spain and a sublime courgette, goat’s cheese and olive tapenade tart inspired by France.
“We’re really excited to see Jamie out and about again, rolling up his sleeves along with cooks and foodies from all over the Mediterranean to explore the way each country uses ingredients differently and creatively,” says Samantha Beddoes, Executive Producer for Jamie Oliver Productions. “This series is about honouring the traditional methods and getting excited by new ones to help bring us all a taste of holiday whilst we’re at home.”
Tim Hancock, Commissioning Editor for Channel 4, adds: “Jamie’s been going from strength to strength in his series for us, and this is a really beautiful travelogue showcasing techniques and recipes even the most avid foodie might have missed, and some ingenious recipes from Jamie.”
Clearly it won’t just be the survivors of Alone who’ll be desperate to tuck in by the time the end credits roll.