Unless you've had your head in a plate of pie and mash for the last few years you'll know that The Naked Chef
is the UK's youngest culinary talent, Jamie Oliver, and that the "naked" refers to his style of cooking--fresh, simple, stripped back to basics--not his dress sense. The tone is set for the series from the very first episode with roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic, rosemary, and pancetta and baked fresh fruits (figs, peaches, cherries) with mascarpone and vanilla sugar. It's all ever so slightly and deliciously left of a very classic centre. His basic recipe for homemade pasta is so undauntingly straightforward, it almost certainly did for pasta-makers what Delia did for coriander when she first used it. If his young nieces can handle ravioli with broad bean, mint and fresh ricotta or his mouth-watering variation with potato, watercress and orgonzola, then we all can. Equally simple but inspiring are his fish dishes: baked salmon fillets with French beans, roasted cherry tomatoes, olives, anchovies and a basil aioli; whole steamed sea bass slashed and stuffed with fresh herbs, red peppers and onions; or his Asian-inspired herb-infused broth over steamed king prawns, scallops and clams with sliced ginger root, garlic and chilies. It remains to be seen whether Jamie Oliver turns out to be the Delia Smith for the lad and ladette generation, but British supermarkets seem infinitely better since he's had his way with purple basil, fennel and baby new potatoes on national television. --Tricia Tuttle
Pukka television chef Jamie Oliver features in the first series of 'The Naked Chef', plus the Christmas Special. Sorted geezer Jamie sets out to create tasty, sociable food from the bare essentials, and has won many celebrity admirers (including Zoë Ball and Nigel Slater) as a result.