Jamie Oliver thanks jerk rice cultural appropriation row for 'free PR'

Jamie Oliver (Credit: PA)
Jamie Oliver (Credit: PA)

Jamie Oliver has thanked those who have criticised his new ‘jerk rice’ product over perceived cultural appropriation for the ‘free PR’ it has brought him.

The TV chef hit headlines last month when he released his ‘Punchy Jerk Rice’ into supermarkets.

He was slated for using the term ‘jerk’ merely to sell the product, when it actually contains none of the traditional ingredients of the Caribbean staple, such as scotch bonnet peppers and all spice.

MP Dawn Butler was among those to haul Oliver up, as was chef Levi Roots, who said: “It’s like saying you’re giving me chicken soup, but it’s got beef in it, or no chicken. If you’re saying ‘jerk’ it’s got to include the flavour, or be cooked with the flavour.”

But appearing in a segment on This Morning, Oliver laughed off the controversy.

When host Phillip Schofield jokingly asked whether he’d be making ‘jerk fettuccine’, Oliver replied: “I’d like to thank everyone for the free PR, that range has completely sold out and I am very grateful.”

Oliver recently blamed the uproar on ‘a quiet news week’.

“This is the world we live in. It’s called a quiet news week,” he told The One Show.

“I did watch it, almost like a tourist, and I decided to say nothing. In the end you have to kind of nip these things about the bud if they start going in the wrong direction.

“Many of the things we love and protect as British, aren’t British. Fish and chips are Portuguese. Cumberland sausage? German.

“We’re living in times where people are trying to make us divisive about things and food shouldn’t be one of those things.”

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