Jamie Oliver accused of cultural appropriation after releasing 'jerk rice' ready meal

Jamie Oliver has come under fire for his latest food product. [Photo: Getty]
Jamie Oliver has come under fire for his latest food product. [Photo: Getty]

Jamie Oliver‘s latest food drop has landed him in hot water.

Oliver, 43, has been accused of cultural appropriation after releasing a ‘punchy jerk rice’ dish which many claim has no characteristics of traditional Jamaican jerk recipes.

The product has been criticised on Twitter with many pointing out that jerk is a Jamaican seasoning – made up of allspice and Scotch bonnets – rather than a rice dish.

To add insult to injury, Oliver’s rice recipe does not contain any of the staple jerk ingredients but instead a mix of garlic, chilli, ginger and jalapeños.

Labour MP Dawn Butler lambasted the TV chef’s new product over the weekend, writing that jerk is not “just a word you put before stuff to sell products” and that the appropriation of Jamaican culture was “not ok”.

The issue was debated on ‘Good Morning Britain’ with Levi Roots, creator of the Reggae Reggae jerk sauce, saying “I do think it was a mistake by his team.”

TV chef Rustie Lee was less forgiving, saying: “At the end of the day, I’ve tasted it and it tastes like Caribbean rice and beans with flavours in it. The jerk part of it is barbecue and you can’t barbecue rice.”

Rustie added: “It’s an insult because jerk is from the Caribbean and as much as I love Jamie, the point is it’s getting onto a bandwagon to say its Caribbean, it’s taken away from us.”

Levi summed it up by saying: “Jerk is either a method of cooking, or the marinade. If it doesn’t have these four things in it then you can’t refer it to jerk. You cannot call it jerk if it doesn’t have allspice.”

Jamie Oliver is yet to comment on the matter.

It’s not the first time Oliver has sparked controversy with his culinary exploits: back in 2016, the chef left Spaniards in furore after his ‘twist’ on paella included the addition of chorizo.

The traditional Spanish dish includes meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables, but never the Spanish sausage, leading some to suggest he should rename his dish “rice with stuff”.

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