This is Rubbish

Tuesday 27/6/2005

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Diary and Notes

Eight Quid!

That's what you'd have paid and there would have been no griddled rib eye steak, nor any hash browns. Eight blomin' quid - what a jip.

I refer to Jamie Oliver's only real culinary invention (as far as I know) - the now infamous beans on toast.

This dish was served at his restaurant Fifteen and sold for £8.00 a plate as a lunch special, cost of ingredients, about 70p (and that's supermarket prices not catering prices), an impressive mark up I'm sure you'll agree.

But that's not the whole story. It transpired that Jamie was hired in secret by Heinz to make something using their beans to serve in his restaurant in order to raise their profile and to make them more acceptable to the Islington types and theatre studies students who have always looked down on the humble baked bean with disdain.

Before I really get to the meat (or pulse) of today's rant I should point out I am a fan of baked beans, especially Heinz. I also think that it is possible to use them as an ingredient in a range of ways, you can make a fairly good mock cassoulet with Heinz beans, or Boston baked beans or any number of other creations, but what I don't recommend is making Jamie Oliver's beans on toast, it's crap, and not only is it crap, but it is cynically crap, the worst kind of crap there is.

It's as though somebody waited in the car park of Waitrose in Notting Hill until somebody drove up in a Range Rover with a pass for the BBC car park and followed them inside and watched what they bought, then bought the same and mixed it all with some beans. Every ingredient is chosen so as to reflect a particular demographic, it's as though the dish were created by advertisers and not a chef - and it just doesn't work.

This is trendy eating gone crazy. Everything that was considered the 'thing' back when Jamie invented it is here, fresh basil, rocket, balsamic vinegar, fresh Parmesan, ciabatta - it's a sickening list of expensive salad ingredients that you get when people copy recipes from the Observer food supplement or foolishly read Jill Duplex's column in the Times. Utter toss, complete and utter toss.

I don't mind that Jamie took a big wad of cash from Heinz to raise their profile. I am happy that a trendy restaurant considers beans good enough for the movers and shakers to eat along with us the common Joes, but I would have expected a professional chef to do more than just pick everything that is considered hip and toss it all in a pan together and make something as rubbish as this.

Shame on you Mr Oliver, shame indeed.

As an aside: I tried to find the recipe for the beans on toast on Jamie's website and a host of others about him but strangely it had been expunged and there was no mention of beans on toast anywhere. I did find a description amongst some old newspapers by going to Manchester public library. They had recipes, pictures etc and it's from these I've recreated the dish.

Cake Blog

Chocolate Profiteroles.


  • Griddled Rib Eye Steak
  • Jamie Oliver's Beans on Toast
  • Hash Browns


    Jamie Oliver's beans on Toast
    1 Can Heinz Baked Beans
    2 Tomatoes
    1 Small Red Chilli
    1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
    Handfull Fresh Rocket
    Few Basil Leaves
    Parmesan Cheese
    Black Pepper
    1 Small Ciabatta


  • Preparation: Heat the haricots sauce tomates in a Le-Creuset pan. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar de Modena, the chopped chilli and the chopped tomatoes (Jamie used cherry but I thought that was "sooo last year" and went for some Roma instead) allow to infuse while you feed your two black labradors their organic vegetarian dog nosh. When thoroughly melangee, break some rocket and basil and stir in, then add half the Parmigiano Reggiano. Warm through and serve on some garlic rubbed toasted ciabatta with extra Parmesan on top. Then give it to the dogs to eat and go out for a curry.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person