Jamie Oliver is feeling the heat over his Jamaican “jerk rice” dish.
The celebrity chef is being called out for cultural appropriation for his microwaveable dish because it doesn’t contain the traditional ingredients used in a jerk marinade, which is typically reserved for meat, not rice. The flavour was developed by African slaves in Jamaica.
Twitter users, including British MP Dawn Butler, were quick to point out that “jerk rice” isn’t really a thing.
Traditional jerk seasoning includes allspice and scotch bonnet peppers – both of which are missing from Oliver’s rice ingredients. His dish includes garlic, ginger and jalapenos “to create a jerk marinade with attitude” with “coconut-infused wholegrain rice, aubergine and kidney beans for a knockout combo.”
“I’ve worked with flavours and spices from all over the world my whole career, learning and drawing inspiration from different countries and cultures to give a fresh twist to the food we eat every day. When I named the rice my intention was only to show where my inspiration came from,” Oliver said in a statement.
It’s not the first time Oliver has come under fire over his Jamaican-inspired creations. In 2000, he included a recipe for “Saturday Soup” in his book, acknowledging he changed the traditional ingredients to “to suit my taste” and added, “I’ll probably get a slap for it, but that’s cooking and you can do what you like!”
But not everyone sees Oliver’s culinary inspirations as cultural appropriation. The reaction was mixed over inviting worldly flavours into the kitchen.
ET Canada has reached out to Oliver’s rep for comment.