Ass… Jamie Oliver has a PA?!?!? I don’t get it either… from The Times:
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 09 2002
Jamie Oliver and his PA, Louise Holland
BY HILARY WHITNEY
Louise Holland was working on the BBC’s Food and Drink programme when she heard that Jamie Oli- ver was looking for an assistant. For a former chef with television experience it was exactly the right kind of job and, by coincidence, she was out shopping when she came across Jamie filming on location in Portobello Market in West London. She introduced herself and, six weeks later, she was working for him.
“It was quite weird at first because I’d never had anyone work for me before and I even found having to interview someone odd,” says Jamie. “But I’d been doing everything myself and wasn’t getting much sleep. I was wasting energy on stuff that I wasn’t very good at when I should have been concentrating on my cooking, so I decided I had to get some help.” Ms Holland trained at the same catering college as Jamie, and has worked all over the world as a chef. When she first started working for him, however, he asked her to work for a short period in the kitchen at Monte’s, the private members’ club where he is the consultant chef. This gave her the chance to see exactly how Jamie worked. “It was a good idea. He’s so busy that I had to learn how he likes to do things as quickly as possible,” she says.
Jamie says of the arrangement: “Because of her experience, Louise and I can work as a team, which is just what I wanted. She can take a lot of the non-cooking work off my hands. If I’m asked to design a layout for a magazine feature, Louise knows how I like it to work for my recipes and can basically do it for me. All I have to do is come in at the end and make a few changes to get it exactly how I want it. It saves me a huge amount of time.”
It is fortunate that Ms Holland feels at home in a restaurant kitchen because, in the absence of a permanent office, she can often be found in the corner of the kitchen at Monte’s, bashing away at her laptop. “I suppose it must seem strange not having a proper office, although we will be moving into one shortly. At the moment it means the laptop is glued to my hip.
“Although there’s an awful lot to be organised, things move very quickly, so I don’t have much paperwork to do, although I do rely heavily on e-mail and my mobile phone.”
She admits that it can be exhausting. “Jamie has a huge number of meetings, which might be about the design of his new tableware range for Royal Worcester or a production meeting for one of his television programmes. I go to all of them and take notes so I know exactly what’s going on. Sometimes I’m literally running after Jamie from one meeting to the next.”
Ms Holland also keeps track of all the recipes Jamie devises, recording their progress and carefully noting any changes made. She also tests some of them in her kitchen. “Although Jamie’s recipes are always wonderfully simple, he is fanatical about detail and is always making tiny adjustments, which make all the difference.”
Jamie’s attention to detail extends to every area of his working life. “A lot of chefs don’t even turn up to the photo shoots for their own books,” says Ms Holland. “Jamie firmly believes that if it’s your baby then you have to be there to keep an eye on things.”
This certainly isn’t a job for anyone who likes a regular nine-to-five routine. “Louise will work 16 hours a day and through the weekend if we need to get something done,” says Jamie. “I feel guilty about that but I need that level of commitment. I’m really lucky that Louise is so loyal.”
Ms Holland admits that she works long hours “but I enjoy it so much, and Jamie is so generous and appreciative that it isn’t a problem”.
Jamie adds that she has made life much easier for him. “If I’ve got an important meeting, she’ll make sure I’ve got a suit to wear, which is exactly the sort of thing I’d forget. To be honest, she’s like a second mother.”
Also, he couldn’t pick a book on Desert Island Discs…
Oliver reveals his naked ignorance on Desert Island
By Anthony Barnes
23 December 2001
Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, became one of only a handful of guests to refuse to choose a book on Desert Island Discs yesterday, because he finds them too boring.
The BBC2 presenter, who is slightly dyslexic, said he preferred “picture books”. Oliver’s latest book, Happy Days with the Naked Chef, is one of the top selling hardbacks in the run-up to Christmas, and may even pip Delia Smith’s book as the season’s number one.
Guests on the long-running BBC Radio 4 show are allowed a copy of the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and a free choice of their own reading matter on their theoretical desert island.
But Oliver told the programme host, Sue Lawley, “I don’t actually read books, which makes me sound pig ignorant, but I fall asleep.” He failed to pick a title, but did add that, “it would have to be a picture book.”
Oliver, who has made millions from his TV series and cookery books, said he struggled at school: “I’m slightly dyslexic – I was frustrated with school, I couldn’t touch and feel and smell enough things. Actually, the things I got an A and a C in was Art and Geology and they were the only things when I actually touched something and made it or created something.
“College was good for me because it actually finally said, you’re not thick, and I got all distinctions and honours because I was interested.”
A spokeswoman said Oliver, who has made his name on TV with his youthful “Mockney” presentation style, was one of “very few” guests who had failed to choose a book since the show began in 1942.
In other food related news… Dave Thomas leaves this earth. :*( It’s so sad. He rocked.