JAMIE OLIVER has been slammed by a number of social media users on Twitter, including Labour MP for Brent Central in London, Dawn Butler, after the English chef was accused of “cultural appropriation” of traditional Jamaican dishes in order to sell his microwavable rice product, “Punchy Jerk Rice”.
It came as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler, joined fellow social media users in criticising the item for not conforming to traditional jerk cooking.
According to Caribgrill.co.uk, jerk is a style of cooking in which meats are “dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice”.
The website goes on to explain that the process, which is native to Jamaica, is traditionally applied to pork and chicken.
In a lengthy Twitter post, the politician, 48, wrote in view of her 36,700 followers: “#Jamieoliver @jamieoliver #jerk I’m just wondering do you know what #Jamaican #jerk actually is?
“It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products.”
The member of parliament then suggested British-Jamaican musician and celebrity chef Levi Roots, 60, should teach Jamie about what traditional Jamaican jerk is, before she hit out at the product.
Levi, real name Keith Valentine Graham, shot to fame after pitching his jerk barbecue sauce – Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce – on the TV programme Dragons’ Den.
The MP went on to accuse the chef of “cultural appropriation” with the dish, which was first developed on the Caribbean island.
She continued: “@levirootsmusic should do a masterclass. Your jerk Rice is not ok.
“This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”
The packet reads: “Jamie Oliver Punchy Jerk Rice”, while a description of the product details: “Brown Rice and Red Kidney Beans with Aubergine and Bell Peppers in Coconut Jerk-Style Sauce.”
Social media users were quick to express their own views about the issue, with one person writing: “Looool @jamieoliver you can’t jerk rice.
“Please do some research before you butcher my culture… again.”(sic)
Another person penned: “@DawnButlerBrent… it’s about to kick off… cultural appropriation gone wrong…
“Jerk= BBQ style roasting/smoking of chicken, pork, fish, in other words MEAT over pimento wood & covered w/ zinc sheet… @jamieoliver #jamieoliver … just no!”
Meanwhile, others were quick to defend the branding, with one Twitter user commenting: “God, this is stupid. I try to be polite, but I fail here. Everyone gets to cook what they like and sell what they like.
“Because if you trace food culture far enough back, you’ll be paying cross royalties to everyone alive today. What idiocy.”
Another person insisted: “Now while I do think Jamie needs taking down a peg or three you’re all getting very silly over this appropriation stuff.
“If no one cooked/ate food from other cultures in the world what a boring life we’d lead.”
Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Jamie Oliver asking for comment.