In 2005, the celebrity chef launched a campaign to improve the quality of food being served in UK schools, with Bernard Matthews’ Turkey twizzlers among the items he wanted scrapped from school menus.
Not everyone was happy with the move, and in a new interview with the podcast 12 Questions, he disclosed that some disgruntled fans of the offending turkey treats continue to abuse him on a regular basis.
Recalling a recent trip to the zoo, Jamie said: “[I was] with my kids and, you know, two metres away, [someone said] ‘that’s Jamie Oliver over there’ and the girl goes: ‘Yeah, I don’t like him, he’s a fucking arsehole’.
“And my kids are right next to me and hearing it as well, it’s a metre and a half away.”
He continued: “As I walk away, she goes to me ‘have you tried those new turkey twizzlers?’ and I went ‘no, I haven’t,’ and she goes: ‘Well, they’re horrible!’
“I said: ‘You probably wouldn’t like the original ones, then.’ And she goes: ‘No I did, and you took them, you stole them away from me’.”
Jamie added that when he used to tour schools, he would be spat at by those unhappy with his campaigning.
“When I was walking around schools as a 28-year-old, I was getting so much abuse,” he admitted.
“I had so much DNA on my back every day when I got home. It was proper filth.”
Jamie’s work at this time was initially captured in the documentary Jamie’s School Dinners, after which he launched the Feed Me Better campaign.
Turkey twizzlers were reintroduced in 2020, with an apparently “healthier” recipe, which included no E numbers and around a 67% meat content.
Listen to Jamie’s full interview on 12 Questions here.