Here's How Jamie Oliver Got His Nickname 'The Naked Chef'

Jamie Oliver is a British celebrity chef who made a name for himself at a very young age. In 1999, a baby-faced Oliver took to TV screens across the United Kingdom and the world with his cooking show The Naked Chef that aired on the BBC (via IMDb). He has since established a restaurant group, which collapsed in 2019 (via Eater), and created additional television shows for Britain's Channel 4, but his fame can be traced back to the television show with the unusual and provocative name. 

The show was so successful that it was spawned a series of cookbooks that referenced the show, including Return of the Naked Chef and Happy Days with the Naked Chef (via Penguin). The show was watched by those from all walks of life and is singlehandedly credited with getting men interested in cooking. The popularity of the show led to Oliver himself being branded with the nickname "The Naked Chef," but what exactly is the genesis behind the name?

How Jamie Oliver became 'The Naked Chef'

Those who tuned in to the show in hopes of seeing Oliver cooking roast leg of lamb and canapés in his birthday suit would have been disappointed. As Oliver explained in his show, the word "naked" was not intended to be applied to him, but instead was referring to his food (via Vice). As the show took off, however, it was out of Oliver's hands and the nickname stuck. 

The whole concept of Oliver's cooking show was to show that cooking was possible — even enjoyable — without the use of fancy and pricey ingredients (via BBC). He encouraged simple and "naked" preparations of dishes rather than pretentious preparations. The whole concept of Oliver's show was to promote a laid-back approach to cooking. To that end, instead of using precise measurements, Oliver would prescribe a "good lug" of olive oil and would rip ingredients by hand rather than chopping them.