‘At least he’s doing something’: Moral entrepreneurship and individual responsibility in Jamie’s Ministry of Food
Jamie Oliver’s celebrity image has undergone various transformations since his debut as ‘the naked chef’. In this article, we focus on his recent series, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, locating it within debates about lifestyle television, class and neoliberalism. We identify a shift in his image from lifestyle expert to moral entrepreneur, involved with a range of social enterprises. We examine the show’s textual strategies, highlighting similarities with earlier forms of social exploration and contemporary depictions of the working class. We conclude with a consideration of how the show resonates with an emergent discourse that represents Britain as a broken society in need of political and social ‘healing’. In the show, representations of fast food, obese bodies, sink estates and poverty of aspiration delineated a general crisis demanding direct action by an inspirational figure. In this way, the show legitimated Jamie’s new role as a moral and social entrepreneur.