Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Jamie Oliver: My first cookbook was ‘written on the back of beer mats’

Jamie Oliver has told of his beginnings as a cookbook writer ahead of his new show (Matt Alexander/PA)
Jamie Oliver has told of his beginnings as a cookbook writer ahead of his new show (Matt Alexander/PA)

Jamie Oliver has said his first cookbook was made out of recipes written on the “back of fag packs and beer mats” left in a bin bag.

The TV chef and restaurateur, 46, said if he “was a horse in a race, you would never have put a bet on me”, as he spoke to Radio Times ahead of the launch of his new show next week.

Oliver will oversee a group of aspiring cookbook authors for The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver as they try to win a book deal.

The Channel 4 show has caused him to look back on his own beginnings, before his first cookbook was released.

Food Revolution Day 2016
Jamie Oliver had his breakthrough with The Naked Chef on the BBC in 1999 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He told Radio Times: “I was a special needs kid from school and I never thought I’d write a book.”

Oliver’s breakthrough came with the BBC series, The Naked Chef, in 1999, but he was told: “Oh, it’s a shame. Normally, we do a cookbook with a series.”

He added: “I said, ‘I’ve got one. I’ve written down all my recipes for the last five years and they’re in a bin liner.’”

Oliver said there were “hundreds” of recipes in the bag written “on the back of fag packs, beer mats and order checks”.

After signing the book deal, he said he set about learning about the publishing industry – even living in the Penguin offices and personally dressing bookshop windows to promote his cookbooks.

Oliver went on to become a household name and has campaigned for better food standards in schools and his Food Revolution campaign fights for children’s rights to nutritious foods, with the aim of cutting child obesity in half by 2030.

Despite his successes, Oliver still thanks his own inspirations, including Marco Pierre White – with whom he said he does not get on – and Delia Smith.

Ahead of the series’ launch, Oliver said the first cookbook he was given was written by Smith.

He added: “She knew there’s a logic between simplicity, accessibility and aspiration.

“You have to have the balance right.”

The Great Cookbook Challenge will air on Channel 4 on Monday, January 31.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]