Whether it's a mouthwatering meal or a campaign for change, big-hearted Big Give judge Jamie Oliver always has something cooking! Also known as the "Naked Chef," Jamie hosts seven hit cooking shows in more than 50 countries and has sold more than 14 million cookbooks worldwide—including his latest, Cook with Jamie.
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In 2002, Jamie opened Fifteen London, a training restaurant for disadvantaged young people. His efforts got Oprah's attention. "I met Jamie Oliver at his restaurant years and years ago and was told then about how he goes out into the inner cities," Oprah says. "He brings all these kids in, and he trains them. That's what his business is about."
Jamie's not just stirring things up in the kitchen—he's stirring up the status quo. The father of two set out to improve the poor quality of school lunches in England and personally taught cafeteria workers how to prepare healthier dishes. His efforts paid off—the British government put more than $1 billion toward the cause.
When Oprah's Big Give came across Jamie's plate, he jumped at the chance because he says television focuses on the negative too often. "It was an opportunity to do something where you can celebrate people doing good stuff for people," he says. "And apart from it ... who's going to say no to Oprah?"
Although he says judging people doing good deeds wasn't easy, Jamie says Oprah's Big Give is an emotional ride he's happy to be on. "It's exciting, it's emotional, you cry, you laugh," he says. "They're real people that represent your country, and for me, as a foreigner, I was proud to be in it. The heroes are the 10 givers, and I was just happy to watch, really."