‘It’s Really Exciting’: The Aussie Inspiration In Jamie Oliver’s New Show

Jamie Oliver is well aware that Australians have been leading the charge when it comes to one very important meal.

And, surprisingly, it's not pavlova, meat pies or even lamingtons that have helped us stamp our mark on the culinary world, it's that early or mid-morning meal that Australians cafes seem to have perfected -- breakfast.

"Chefs around the world are coming back from Aussie saying, ‘Gee, I never had a breakfast like that, it’s really exciting," Jamie told 10 daily. 

The Aussie-style brunch bowl is just one of the fresh, nutritious recipes featured in the chef's latest book and TV series, 'Jamie's Ultimate Veg' and was inspired by the fare at "multiple cafes around Sydney".

Jamie's veggie pad thai will make any meat eater's mouth water. Photo: Network 10.

"They’re healthy but they’re delicious, they’ve got texture and spice, you’ve got freshness, citrus, herbs, you’ve got some lovely hot flatbreads," he excitedly said of the variety at some of our local eateries.

"More than anything, it’s the bounty, the choice, the colour, the shapes, the forms of the salads, and I think, in some respects as well, Aussies are absolutely leading the way in having really cool breakfasts and brunches and kind of like bowls of cool stuff, d’ya know what I mean?"

We really do!

Jamie's passion for veg is infectious and he's purposefully created the new series to get meat-eaters buzzed about leeks and kohlrabi, instead of branding 'Ultimate Veg' as something only vegans or vegetarians can get into.

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"My motivation was to write a book that my dad could enjoy," Jamie explained to 10 daily. 

"I see my dad as a sort of regular meat-eating fella of a certain age and he doesn’t want compromise and I didn’t want to either," he added. 

While putting vegetables at the forefront of a meal can mean you're chomping down more vitamins and minerals, or saving a bit of cash -- Jamie insisted his real focus is flavour.

"Absolutely if you want to save money, if you want to have a more nutritious dinner, if you want to have something that’s theoretically better for the planet and can help you with personal issues or religious issues, brilliant! 

"Vegies can have a really robust part to play but for me, it’s just about good food, really," Jamie told 10 daily. 

Fresh veg and good food have always been part of Jamie's philosophy, ever since we first met the cheeky youngster during his 'Naked Chef' days two decades ago.

Photo: Network 10.

But for 'Ultimate Veg', he's zoomed in on communities around the world who have been consistently nailing dishes full of greens or pulses without necessarily being anti-meat.

"Right, let’s get around the world, let’s look at communities that don’t really look at veggie, vegan, pescatarian, meatatarian [labels]," Jamie said. 

"Let’s look at communities that don’t divide people through fads or through names. Let’s just go look at a bunch of people who make amazing food that just happens to be veggie and let’s have a little think," he said. 

The show's first episode takes Jamie to India, where he's blown away by the vegetarian treats made by vendors on the streets of Delhi -- spicy chickpea curries and naan bread filled with veg.

A shepherd's pie with a twist. Photo: Network 10.

But it's the considered approach to meat-eating in Korea that Jamie believes is a guiding light for omnivores.

"Another simple way, for me, is thinking about meat as a condiment and not the centre of the meal," he told 10 daily. 

"I spent two years going around the world to places where people live the longest and in Korea, there’d be meat everywhere and seafood everywhere but when you’ve actually got it in front of you, there’d be like seven or eight little plates of cool beans and cool veggies and ferments and pickles and sauces, noodles, rice.


"Then there’d be one of the meat and so they were having everything that they wanted but they had it in perfect scale," he marvelled. 

We'd still like to think it's Australia that takes the (carrot) cake when it comes to inspiring Jamie, especially when he encourages viewers to use a very Aussie ingredient in the first recipe of the series -- whacking a bit of vegemite into his Allotment Shepherd's Pie.

That's a yes from us.

'Jamie's Ultimate Veg' premieres on Thursday, September 26 at 7.30pm, only on 10 and WIN Network.