Labour’s shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler has accused TV chef Jamie Oliver “cultural appropriation” for launching a microwavable “punchy jerk rice”.
Butler insinuated Oliver was using the word “jerk” to increase the sales while deviating from the original Caribbean. Her remarks have created an internet storm, with passionate views for and against her.
#jamieoliver @jamieoliver #jerk I'm just wondering do you know what #Jamaican #jerk actually is? It's not just a wo… https://t.co/U9cYfZs1Hr
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾💙 (@Dawn Butler MP✊🏾💙)
Jerk usually involves marinating meat in a jerk spice mixture. The spicy mix originated in Jamaica, but has become increasingly popular in the UK. It primarily uses allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are not in the recipe of Oliver's readymade rice.
Criticising his choice of ingredients, Butler suggested Oliver take lessons from Levi Roots, who created jerk BBQ Reggae Reggae sauce.
But there’s just one thing. Oliver has already been taught how to make jerk mix by Roots – and there's footage to prove it.
In a video posted on Oliver's official YouTube chanel, Roots can be seen teaching him how to make the perfect Jerk chicken. He explains the ingredients that you "have to have", including Scotch bonnet peppers and allspice. Oliver calls Scotch bonnets "the best pepper in the world", despite not using them in his jerk rice.
Roots can even be heard saying that if one of these ingredients isn't in the mix, you "can't really call it jerk".
So it turns out that Butler seems to be right - Oliver's product isn't really jerk at all.