The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver is a new challenge show on Channel 4 for relatively unknown chefs looking for the kind of fame and fortune that Jamie has achieved. From your first cookbook the naked chef Arriving in our stores in 1999, Jamie Oliver has practically taken over the market when it comes to cookbooks. In fact, he’s Britain’s second best-selling author, only losing the crown to a certain JK Rowling, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s doing.
Now for The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver, the TV chef embarks on a nationwide search to find the next best-selling cookbook author by helping an unknown cook land a publishing deal. For the series, 18 chefs will go to Jamie’s headquarters in London and battle it out to win this life-changing award.
“I never thought I’d be on a competition show, but for this one the prize is a book deal, so it felt different. It’s very real, very tangible, and if you have the hook, the authenticity and the angle, then the competition is open to anyone,” says Jamie. “In fact, I think it’s one of the most uplifting and enjoyable experiences I’ve had on television in 25 years.”
So here’s everything you need to know about The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver…
Release date for ‘The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver’
The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver is a seven-part series that premieres on Channel 4 on January 31 at 8pm Each of the seven episodes will land on the All4 streaming service once it airs.
Is there a trailer for ‘The Great Jamie Oliver Cookbook Challenge’?
No, not at this time, but if and when it is available, we will post it here.
‘The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver’: How it works
Hundreds of chefs applied to participate in The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver and the 18 successful candidates have been invited to Jamie’s headquarters in London, where he will guide them through a series of challenges. Everyone should have an idea for a cookbook and those on offer include a dedicated lasagna cookbook, quick and easy vegan dishes, bread cleanup meals and a love letter to Austrian food.
The first three episodes of The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver watch three rounds of six cooks working in the kitchen with Jamie before pitching their book idea to the judges; Jimi Famurewa, Georgie Hayden, and Head Judge Louise Moore. Six contestants will then be selected for stages of the challenge, where they will prepare dishes and take on post-related tasks. The judges select the contestants week by week and the eventual winner receives a publishing deal that will change his life, as the winner’s cookbook will be published by Penguin Michael Joseph later this year.
Of his role as a mentor, Jamie Oliver said: “I didn’t want to have to choose between people. Really, what he had to offer was more to help each individual find their hook, their thing, their confidence and try to help them get all the assets and facets and what it takes to make a page really work.”
‘The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver’: Meet the Judges
Head judge Louise Moore is the MD of Penguin Michael Joseph, the firm that will publish the winner’s book. “It starts with the recipes,” she says. “They are the essential part of the book. I’m looking for someone to build on that and start putting their voice out there, so they can say “This is who I am. This is what I’m showing you how to do, and here are the recipes to help you do what I do.” Louise will enlist the help of Jimi Famurewa, a restaurant critic and food writer, and award-winning recipe writer and author Georgie Hayden.
Jamie Oliver on organizing the Great Cookbook Challenge
Did you really just say you don’t like TV cooking contests?!
Says Jamie: “I hate them, with the exception of Ready Steady Cook, which was part of my youth! Constructs of competition and television bring out competitive and masculine notes that I don’t like that much. I prefer to find talent in a more nourishing and enriching, so there’s nothing dramatic about it – we don’t even put time limits on the competitors in our series. I don’t want to do that show. The beautiful thing about The Great Cookbook Challenge is that it offers hope and possibility.”
It is a unique prize: usually the winner gets a trophy or a title!
Jamie says: “Getting a book deal is huge as publishing is brutal and it’s hard to get your pitch in front of someone. We’re talking about spending £100,000 producing the winning cookbook, which is a lot of money. And it could be life. changing; it was for me. My books have shaped my career, taken me around the world and given me incredible opportunities. That’s why it’s so exciting to look for the next cookbook star.”
Tell us more about the show…
Jamie says: “We had requests from hundreds and hundreds of people, which we narrowed down to 20 and then six. It was quite emotional! First, the chosen six present their idea for a cookbook and prepare their signature dishes for the panel of experts to taste. We give them challenges like a weekend feast and a mid-week potluck to cook to help them perfect their book concept. Three finalists will see their book come to life, with Lou, Jimi and Georgina calling the shots.”
What are aspiring cookbook authors like?
Jamie says: “They are all very different. They include a roofer, who is skinny and earns money for his family’s roofs, but who also has this incredible passion for food. He’s dyslexic like me, so he draws everything. Fight but your food is delicious. Then there is a YouTuber and TikToker, who is defined by ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’, but ‘Likes’ is not the same as selling a book!”
Who else should we look for?
Says Jamie, “We have a Filipino chef whose dishes are like a kiss of the sun, but is it time for Filipino food? And there’s a mom who makes pasta sauces for a living, but Asian food is her passion. hard on herself, a real perfectionist, but very good. There is a book in each of them, to be honest, thank God I am not a judge! I do everything as a mentor, I guide them, I suggest them, I bring them the dishes… I was a human tablecloth holder before!”
Can someone write a cookbook?
Jamie says, “Listen, I was a flop in school. I was a special needs kid who got an A in Art, a C in Geology, and everything else was ungraded, so I had a bad relationship with education. I wrote my first three books on a dictaphone; now I’m the second best-selling author in the country [behind J.K.Rowling] – How crazy is that? Being a cookbook author is all about having an idea, passion and experience, and the brilliant thing about publishing is that it accepts anyone, any shape or size, even a guy!”
But don’t you have to be famous for cookbooks to sell?
Jamie says, “No! There are plenty of successful cookbooks where no one knows the chef’s face. You don’t have to be a jazz connoisseur and be on TV to have a brilliant publishing career. Nigel Slater has been writing for years before you get a TV Show.”
You have sold more than 46 million books worldwide. What is the hardest thing about writing a cookbook?
Says Jamie: “You can feel that I’m good at knocking them out, but there’s a whole year of trauma to get there! One of the hardest things is trying to figure out what the public wants – it’s usually a lot! When I started doing the naked chef [on BBC2] Nearly 23 years ago, the average time people spent cooking dinner was 46 minutes; now it’s 23 and that was before COVID-19 and food delivery companies so I think we can be in 18 minutes now! But the public wants more: they have tasted more, they have traveled in a culinary sense around the world and they are spoiled when it comes to taste, which makes an author’s job that much more difficult! Basically, the public wants food that is tasty, fast and without the need for washing dishes.”
Finally, do any of your five children show signs of wanting to follow in your enthusiastic footsteps?
Jamie says: “I don’t think so. My dad never pushed me to cook, not that my kids did everything they were told anyway! River [who’s five, the youngest of Jamie and his wife Jools’ brood] could surprise me. Y [11-year-old] Buddy is rocking it doing Cooking Buddies [culinary tutorials on YouTube], but it’s just for fun. He just wants to be on a skateboard!”
Our short guide to Jamie Oliver’s career as a TV chef
Talented chef Jamie Oliver MBE rose to fame as the naked chef in 1999 and her cookbook became a bestseller. After three series of the naked chef programs, Jamie made the documentary jamie’s kitchen, where he trained young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to work at his Fifteen restaurant. He also ran a successful campaign to improve school meals and started Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, where he encouraged ordinary people to cook healthy meals, which he also replicated in America. Since then, he has presented numerous shows, including Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, Jaime at home Y Jamie’s Quick and Easy Food. Jamie has also written over Jamie Oliver’s 30 best-selling books and opened numerous restaurants.
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