One of my favourite things honoured one of my other favourite things recently – TED awarded their yearly prize to food writer, chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver.
I know it’s been the done thing for quite a long time to slag off Jamie Oliver, but I’ve always had affection and respect for him. He is genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about his subject, and when you think about how many clueless eejits are presenting tv shows, that’s quite a rare thing. And he has a social conscience and a campaigning spirit, another rare thing among tv personalities. In the light of that, a mildly annoying habit of bouncing around and saying ‘pukka’ a bit too much isn’t really that much of a crime.
Some media critics levelled accusations of snobbery at his campaigning tv shows, arguing that they allowed middle-class people to smugly congratulate themselves on how they were more sensible about food than the proles. There’s some legitimacy to those claims, but Oliver’s intentions were clearly sincere, and his call for better education about food is one that it’s hard to argue with.
I also can’t say enough good things about TED – their videos are a constant source of inspiration.