World famous celebrity chef Jamie Oliver faces criticism over the use of pre-prepared sauces in his restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian.
The scandal broke after it was exposed that the Glasgow arm of the business was receiving readymade sauces from a factory almost 400 miles away in Oxfordshire. This surprised many of the customers who are used to seeing the health conscious cook on television screens expressing his passion for using local produce and his mission to get everyone in the country making food from scratch.
Jamie Oliver’s spokesperson was quick to stress that only a small number of ingredients are produced in a central kitchen, Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts Ltd, to ensure there is consistency of taste within the chain. The spokesperson added that this is only the base sauce to which fresh ingredients are added on site by the chefs at each restaurant.
The controversy does not end there however, as there are also allegations that other fresh ingredients were initially sourced from outside of Scotland. While Jamie’s Italian is now serving local scallops when the restaurant first opened it was serving scallops that had been driven from as far away as Devon.
Although it is true that Oliver is not the first celebrity chef to stir up controversy when moving into the chain restaurant industry Ryan James, chairman of the Glasgow Restaurant Association, still feels uneasy about the practice he calls cooking by numbers.
Does using readymade ingredients spoil the celebrity dining experience or is it necessary to ensure brand continuity?