Jamie Oliver is trying to expand his brand, but critics are claiming that he did a disservice to traditional Jamaican cuisine with his latest recipe. Oliver is promoting his new “punchy jerk rice,” which has been called out for cultural appropriation by angry users on Twitter. Some believe that Oliver using the Jamaican seasoning as a selling point for his new product is disgraceful. While selling food that doesn’t originate with the culture of the maker isn’t a new thing (hotdogs come from Germany, I don’t see anyone boycotting fast food restaurants), some people just can’t be pleased. British politician Dawn Butler called out Oliver on Twitter, writing, “I’m just wondering do you know what Jamaican jerk actually is?” Some critics also claimed that there is no such thing as “jerk rice,” and that the seasoning method is used on meat.
Levi Roots, a Jamaican born professional chef, stopped by Good Morning Britain on Monday to discuss the controversy behind the jerk rice. He referenced the fact that he taught Oliver how to make proper jerk, which relies on allspice and scotch bonnet peppers, years ago on his YouTube channel. “I do think it was a mistake by Jamie, either by him or by his team. Maybe he wasn’t actually involved in this,” stated Roots of Oliver’s erroneous recipe. Oliver’s jerk rice uses mixed garlic, ginger, and jalapeños to create what he is promoting as an authentic jerk taste.