Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver

Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver are both extremely influential television chefs, however their methods and approaches used to convey themselves and their programmes are extremely comparative. Compare and discuss. However, before I begin, I feel it beneficial to look a little into the history previous of their fruitful careers in cookery. This will enable me to retrieve a fuller picture on how their backgrounds influenced whom and what each portray present day. Jamie Oliver was born in South end on 27th May 1975 to Sally and Trevor Oliver.

His only sibling is his little sister, Anne Marie.

When he was two years old he moved to the small village of Clavering. Here his family bought a pub, which they name “The Cricketers”. Both his parents and many uncles are cooks. The catering tradition runs in the family. Jamie began helping out in the kitchens of ‘the Cricketer’ from as young as the age of 7. Here Jamie realised his desire to cater. As Jamie grew older he was keen to learn all elements of the catering trade.

Jamie attended “Newport Free Grammar Boy’s School”. From Primary school to secondary school, teachers can remember Jamie always mixing himself up with mischief. Due to this, he was incredibly popular.

Teachers say, “He could never sit still, but he was friendly and very popular”. Jamie was more interested in cooking and his rock band “Scarlet Division”. At 16 years of age he met Jules. Now 27, Jamie is married to Jules and has one child. He has recognisably become one of the most influential television cooks ever.

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Delia Smith was born in Surrey in 1941 and brought up in Kent. Leaving school without a single qualification, she eventually found herself washing up in a small London restaurant. Harnessed with the desire to learn how to cook and after much persistence, she was allowed to help the chefs.

Thus began her love of cooking and traditional British recipes. She then fostered her personal mission to pass on her knowledge and growing skills to others. In 1969 she then became cookery writer for the Daily Mirror’s new magazine. From then onwards she continued to excel in her profession and receive many national awards such as an OBE and honorary degree from various universities. Already we can see that Delia and Jamie differ immensely. However, both are extremely successful in their attempt to catch and hold the attention of their viewers.

I do not think they each purposely aimed for their present audiences, I believe it was and is out of their control. Delia and Jamie inescapably appeal to contrasting audiences due to their distinctive characteristics and methods. Over the years, Delia Smith has gradually established a consistent audience. By observing the way in which Delia conducts herself (in terms of language, speech, dress code and gesture) I suggest her audience greatly consists of older middle classed women like herself, who do not intend to follow the recipes but aspire to cook.

They simply watch the programme as they perceive Delia as a eminent role model and admire both who and what she represents – “the perfect high status housewife”, “motherly and caring” and “the essential English tradition”. To a fraction of her audience, Delia solely represents English tradition. This is mainly to the older viewers who appear less likely to accept new ideas and recipes that fashionable TV chefs propose. They dearly appreciate the rarity Delia provides.

However, I believe that by far Delia’s audience mainly consist of dedicated cookers who thoroughly appreciate the job Delia does and have immense love and respect for her and her methods. Jamie on the other hand, in what can be said, a considerably short amount of time in the cooking industry, has bestowed an ever-growing chain of encouragement from his devoted viewers. Jamie’s mannerisms, use of language, dress code, attitude, personal looks, surroundings and even his opinions compile together what his audiences crave – Jamie’s complete individuality!

Jamie youth and possession of his working class roots, enable him to relate to young working class people in urban communities. Jamie’s use of colloquial language and common phrases such as “pukka”, makes it even easier for working class people to relate to him, whilst empowering them at the same time. I suggest that perhaps Jamie is indiscreetly a “revolutionist” to the world of cookery. He being male empowers other males to consider or even take cookery up. Jamie also represents men in modern day society; positions are changing. Men are no longer seen to be “tough as boots” and unemotional.

As little as 20 years ago, a man even setting foot into the kitchen was completely unheard of, it was seen as a women’s job. Surprisingly, Jamie appeals to older women, but not due to the same reasons as Delia’s. Older women may find Jamie “sexy”. The idea of a man being able to cook may appeal as seductive or romantic. It comes as no surprise, Delia and Jamie appeal to contrasting audiences therefore they are both going to appeal to them in different ways. Both Delia and Jamie’s love for cookery is presented inconsistently but in skilled ways.

I believe their love for cooking is equal. Delia seems to take her job more seriously. She provides us with an extensive instructional yet informative programme, providing us with a step-by-step guide on how to cook her dishes. She consistently reassures the viewer and provides alternatives wherever possible. Due to this method the audience can sense Delia’s love for cooking, as it seems “she knows her stuff” and wants to portray this to the audience. Therefore everything in Delia’s programme must be right and accurate. However, Jamie tends to take his in his stride.

He provides us with an inspirational programme, viewers watch him with an open mind, as it seems he gives more opinionated information allowing his viewers to make choices. Delia deals with her programme as what it actually is, a job – a task, which has to be completed. Whereas Jamie portrays to the viewer that cooking is like an experimental adventure that you “can’t go wrong with”. Delia’s characteristics are to an extent completely the opposite of Jamie’s. Delia promotes seriousness and strictness. Whereas Jamie, is laid back and relaxed.

I suggest this is because Delia feels as if she is required to live up to her high reputation of cooking. Jamie has entered the industry genuinely being himself. People respect Jamie for this. Delia only shows her viewers one side – the “always happy, bliss – nothing will go wrong” side. It seems as if Delia has little substance, her personality leaks less than Jamie’s. Of course, it is only natural to have more than one side to a person, as we are only human – including Delia herself. Jamie however, kindly lets the viewers into personal life.

This is very clever, as it warms the viewers to him, making him even more favourable to a young modern and trendy audience. Delia’s programme only has one main aspect to it. She speaks to her viewers instructing through the camera, providing them with a simple step-by-step guide. It is just she and the camera. Delia is the only person we see. Jamie has many different aspects to his programme. For one, Jamie has an interviewer who asks him crucial questions that the viewers want to know. So in a sense, the interviewer represents the audience. This means that Jamie doesn’t speak directly to the audience as Delia does.

Delia’s programme may seem more personalised to the audience as she speaks directly to them. However, Jamie’s method seems more rewarding, as the interviewer is able to find out about the dish specifically by asking him desirable questions. Viewers are then able to jot this down. You aren’t given a chance to ask Delia any questions regarding her dishes. However, Delia is very precise and specific and she usually she covers everything you’ll need to know about the dish. Another interesting aspect to Jamie’s programme is when he begins cooking; he has an important task in mind.

Delia cooks for the benefit of her viewers, Jamie cooks for an event or specific person. With this in mind, there is always an element of emotion on the part of the viewers. Jamie provides his audience with a story whilst still informing them how to cook. Usually its gripping – ‘will he make it in time’ ‘where will he get the food from – everywhere is shut! ‘ As Jamie solves these problems, his audiences are able to judge him as a person and observe how he deals with these situations. Viewers are then able to warm to him, as he is seen as a human being who has problems equally as anyone else.

Delia is incredibly easy to understand. Her tone of voice adds to the simplicity of her instructions and methods. Her soft, mellow, gentle, slow voice comforts the viewer. She makes her programme easy for older and elderly people to understand due to the slow pace she speaks at. Delia speaks in Standard English, which makes it soothing and plain for all to understand whether middle classed or working class. She constantly reassures the viewer filling in any doubts. She comes across as caring, kind and motherly – a warming and trustworthy character. Jamie is more so portrayed as your “big brother”.

He delivers useful cooking advice to his viewers and is funny and friendly. A great attribution to his programme is that is seen Jamie to “gel” with anyone and everyone. This is why people respect him and his methods. However, people may be held back by Jamie, as he may seem a little too erratic. His show doesn’t seem rehearsed. Therefore thought of as “not properly done”. Nevertheless, this is one of the many reasons why Jamie’s audience are attracted to his programme. They favour the fact that he is so spontaneous. Delia’s programme comes across as rehearsed as everything is in its correct place.

For instance the utensils she uses are laid out for her. Due to this I suggest that people feel safer following Delia’s methods. Her methods seem trustworthier as they are traditional, tried and tested and have worked successfully in the past. Jamie speaks in colloquial language and uses modern phrases and slang. He speaks fast and seems somewhat “careless”. For instance, Jamie may say an offensive joke, however it is inoffensive to him. Compared to Delia, it may be difficult for a non-Londoner to understand some of the words and phrases he uses, as he uses London slang.

There’s no doubt that Jamie is confident in his profession, comparatively confident to what Delia portrays. This is most likely due to the fact that he enjoys it so much, and views cooking as fun. Jamie is fearless of cooking blunders, as ‘cooking is about experimenting’. Whereas Delia equally enjoys cooking, but as mentioned earlier, views it as – “a task that has to be successfully fulfilled”. People believe that its not ‘acceptable’ for Delia to go wrong, as she has such a high status, and can always be relied on to get her recipes and methods accurate consistently.

Whilst watching both programmes, I have observed while each are in the kitchen, they both have distinctive surroundings. Delia’s kitchen is very neat and organised. Everything is in its right place, ready to be used. The main colour scheme in her kitchen is white. It is perhaps ironic as I associate white with ‘pure’. This coincides perfectly with my idea of which I believe Delia represents – “the pure essential English woman” who everyone respects. I doubt this effect was purposely created. On the other hand, Jamie’s kitchen is overflowing with cooking utensils. His kitchen is busy and to some extent unorganised.

However, it is only unorganised to the viewer, as only he knows where everything is in his kitchen. Jamie’s kitchen is filled with various colours. Creating a fun & happy place to work in. Delia prepares her dishes on a raised table in the middle of her kitchen. This is the focus of scene. She has lots of space on it; all utensils are arranged neatly waiting to be used. Jamie has a table for preparing the food however; it looked as if he had simply creating it by making some space. When Jamie finishes with his bowls, plates and cutlery he simply ‘chucks’ them in the sink.

However, when Delia finishes using her bowls and dishes they are left on the table, and then sorted off camera. When Delia decides to use her hands, for instance when kneading dough, we don’t see her washing her hands afterwards. This is done off camera. Whereas Jamie, turns on the tap, quickly dashes his hands under the water, wipes his hands on a tea towel and commences with his dish. I think that Delia may believe that these conventions needn’t be shown on TV, as they take the focus off the aim of the programme and waste time.

I feel that viewers don’t need to see Delia washing her hands as they assume that she is clean and hygienic anyway. Delia is seen as the perfect housewife, which leads the viewer to believe that the washing up will be seen to once she has finished cooking. Jamie however, shows that leaving the dishes and washing his hands is a normal part of the cooking process. Perhaps because we don’t have the same ‘ultra’ clean and hygienic view on Jamie as we have on Delia, it is a good thing that we see Jamie washing his hands.

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Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver. (2017, Aug 20). Retrieved from

Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver
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