Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Me, Heinz and [Pounds Sterling]15,000 to Put Beans on My Menu; the Offer Jamie Oliver Couldn't Refuse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Me, Heinz and [Pounds Sterling]15,000 to Put Beans on My Menu; the Offer Jamie Oliver Couldn't Refuse

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON CORVIN

JAMIE OLIVER may have revolutionised the way British cooking is seen abroad, but at home he's still living down the beans-on-toast episode.

Last September, just a week after Harden's guide called his Shoreditch restaurant Fifteen amateurish and overpriced, a Heinz baked bean bruschetta arrived on the menu, costing an eye-watering [pounds sterling]8.

The news was reported with understandable glee.

After eight years in the media spotlight, surely 29-year-old Jamie should be more savvy than that.

Why on earth did he do it?

"Well, Heinz came to us and offered [pounds sterling]15,000 for us to put something cool made with baked beans on the menu for one day," he says.

"That funds one student for a whole year. Am I going to do it? Of course I am."

We're not just talking beans on toast, he insists. The tinned beans were washed clean of sugary tomato sauce and mixed with olive oil, rocket, chilli and Parmesan.

"What I didn't realise was that Heinz's marketing department was also working on it, and next thing I know we've got giant baked beans running across the restaurant. It was quite surreal. Baked beans have got absolutely no place in any restaurant with integrity."

Rather naive, then for a mediahardened television chef, to have them on his menu even for a day?

"I should have been brighter," he agrees glumly. "If I'd known, I'd have given Heinz their money back. But you live and learn."

He has developed a chip on his shoulder about the snobbish hostility to Fifteen.

Having risked his reputation, his marriage and his home to set it up, he clearly feels unappreciated.

"All I want to do is put a bit back, because I've been given so much.

It's important, if you make a living out of public goodwill, that you give something back. I think it's a shame if celebrities don't."

He had the idea long before he became famous. "A friend of Jools's was a social worker and she used to come in covered in bruises and quite demoralised. Then one day she said: 'I've just done the most amazing thing.

We've started cooking classes with big, strapping-horrible lads, and they've been soft, gentle, hardly any swearing and I haven't been hit. …

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