Jamie Oliver

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He's a millionaire, was voted People magazine's sexiest chef, and is happily married to his childhood sweetheart. Life has been kind to celebrity cook Jamie Oliver.

Born on May 27, 1975, Jamie grew up above his parents' Essex pub The Cricketers, where he helped in the kitchens as a tot, and experimented with his mum's Aga cooker when she wasn't looking. It was an early training which was to prove useful when he left school at 16 to attend Westminster Catering College.

Jobs at several prestigious restaurants in England and the rest of Europe followed. And by the time Pat Llewelyn, producer of the Two Fat Ladies TV cookery show contacted him after spotting him in a documentary about the Riverside Café, he had already risen to the level of sous-chef at the prestigious London eatery.

When the tousle-haired maestro stormed onto the TV cooking scene with his programme The Naked Chef critics were initially bemused by the 21-year-old's accent and presenting style. But they were soon forced to accept that audiences loved his simple, fun food, and good natured wide-boy persona.

The Essex-boy-done-great eventually caught the eye of British premier Tony Blair, who asked him to whip up an appropriately themed dinner for a meeting with the PM's Italian counterpart. The result was such a success the Labour leader offered Jamie the job of "food tsar" for Britain's hospitals, a role he declined.

Protective of his street cred image, The Naked Chef star has refused to endorse international food and beverage giants whose product or marketing strategy do not meet with his approval. Both Nestle and Coca-Cola who asked him to pose naked for an ad campaign have been rebuffed. He does, however, have a promotional contract with pro-organic supermarket Sainsburys.

Wanting to put his high-profile status to good use, the big-hearted chef opened a charity restaurant in London called Fifteen. As part of a TV show, called Jamie's Kitchen, he trained fifteen disadvantaged youngsters to work in the catering field. The show was a hit, and other Fifteen restaurants have been opened across the world, from Amsterdam to Melbourne.

Then in 2005 Jamie launched his hugely succesful Jamie's School Dinners series, in which he campaigned to get healthier food on the menu in school canteens. Thanks to his efforts the government pledged to spend £280m on school dinners over the course of the next three years and Jamie was voted the year's most inspiring political figure at a high-profile awards ceremony.

Having overturned the school dinners industry the health conscious chef turned his attentions to highlighting the plight of battery-farmed chickens in the poultry industry. He launched Jamie's Fowl Dinners, and, following his exposé, supermarkets reported massive increases in the sales of organic and free-range chickens.

His personal life is just as successful. Jamie married ex-model Juliette "Jules" Norton whom he met while they were both still students at Newport Free Grammar school in a church just 200 metres from his parents' home. Key to the ceremony was a performance by an Elvis impersonator who sang I Can't Help Falling In Love. Jamie and Jules enjoy home life with their two daughters, Poppy Honey, born in March 2002, and Daisy Boo, born in April the following year.
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