Just when you thought it was safe to go into the kitchen, a row between two of Britain's most outspoken cooks has reached boiling point. Clarissa Dickson Wright, one half of the Two Fat Ladies, lashes out against Jamie Oliver in an exclusive interview published today in The Independent on Sunday – even claiming that she is afraid to dine at his restaurants.
"He is a brilliant cook," she says. "But his restaurants are lacklustre, I'm told. I don't know. I don't eat in them. I don't want to risk being poisoned."
Oliver's various Fifteen restaurants – in London, Newquay, Amsterdam and Melbourne – help disadvantaged young people get a new start in the kitchen.
Yesterday, he hit back through a spokesman, who said: "Clarissa has no fear of being poisoned... because I suspect none of our restaurants would welcome her, for fear of offending the other guests."
Their row began in 2004, when Dickson Wright, 61, accused Oliver, 33, of selling his soul to Sainsbury's, for which he makes advertisements. Oliver has largely kept out of the fight – until now.
His spokesman said that he worked behind the scenes at Sainsbury's, "trying to be a force for good, and using the influence he undoubtedly has".