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cooking is fun cathartic and a pleasure

Jamie Oliver’s five ingredients to create tastier food
The star chef presents a simplified approach to cooking in his latest book and new show, which will air in the UAE on the soon-to-launch Fox Life channel

Claire Corkery
Claire Corkery
September 28, 2017
Updated: September 28, 2017 03:21 PM

Jamie Oliver’s new show, ‘Quick and Easy’, will be shown in the UAE on new channel Fox Life. Courtesy Fremantle Media
Jamie Oliver’s new show, ‘Quick and Easy’, will be shown in the UAE on new channel Fox Life. Courtesy Fremantle Media
“T his idea is really basic; I should have come up with this 10 or 15 years ago.” Jamie Oliver is reflecting on the thought process ­behind his latest TV show and accompanying book, the guiding philosophy of which is that you only need five ingredients to create a great dish.

Nearly 20 years after he shot to international fame with the Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver is back on our screens with eight 30-minute programmes. The show is called Quick and Easy and it has the sole purpose of getting everyone cooking from scratch using just five elements per recipe. In the show, the 42-year-old celebrity chef will demonstrate recipes such as sticky lamb chops and lemony ­courgette linguine from his new book: 5 ingredients.

The show will air in the Middle East on Fox Life, a new lifestyle channel being launched in the last quarter of this year exclusively on e-life. Fox Life is part of a trio of new channels being unveiled by the broadcaster in the next few months. Fox calls it “reality TV tourism”, a window into different cultures, cuisines and lifestyles around the world. Content will focus on travel, home, leisure, wellness and food.

At the launch event for Quick and Easy in London, Oliver explains why this book is different from anything he has ever done before. “Not all my books are for everyone, there are some for advance cooks, some for beginners, books about money or speed,” he acknowledges.

“But this book is probably the easiest book, the most accessible I’ve ever written. It’s probably a book that you could give to a 12-year-old or a teenager, or a student going off to university, but, weirdly you could give this to a really good cook but for different reasons.”

Over the years, Oliver has listened to feedback from around the world and recognised what so many of his contemporaries have failed to see – that opening a recipe book and seeing a long list of ingredients makes the average amateur cook’s heart sink.

This is a lesson he has taken on board himself: “As a cook, just because you’re good doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate being reminded to simplify. This became for me, as a chef, a masterclass in restraint – putting one less thing in.”

Meeting Jamie Oliver in the flesh is a comforting experience – over the course of his 20-year-career, his face has made its way into countless homes via his books or television programmes, so it is strangely familiar. “I feel very lucky,” he says when asked about his continued success. “To have a presence in someone’s home through a cook book is like the best gift ever.”

However, Oliver’s longevity as a TV chef, author and businessman with an empire worth about £150 million (Dh744m) is nothing to do with luck. It’s linked to his ability to move with the times, without losing the energy and enthusiasm that propelled him to TV fame in the first place.

During a live cooking demonstration of two of the recipes from the book – Asian fishcakes and garlic mushroom pasta – Oliver speaks with passion about his love of social media and image-collecting site Pinterest, which has allowed him to connect and share ideas with fans.

“For about 12 years of my career, I had no information,” he muses. “I only learnt from book signings or doing demonstrations [what people thought]. Now with digital and social media, there’s a ­conversation going on and it’s a global conversation.”

Although he is an avid user of Twitter and Instagram, Oliver knows that it can have its downsides. Last year, he caused a social media frenzy when he shared his take on a traditional paella recipe that included chicken thighs and chorizo. The inclusion of chorizo prompted a furore in Spain as traditionally the dish does not contain the sausage.

Despite the abuse he received, Oliver seems to take in on the chin: “It was amazing getting death threats from Spanish people because of a sausage. But it [the incident] made people discuss what is a paella and what is traditional. Chefs were arguing with each other about it on social media; I quite like that because that’s what it’s all about.”

Oliver is used to taking criticism. His ground-breaking 2004 documentary Jamie’s School Dinners, which exposed shocking truths about what school children in Britain were being fed, earnt him a lot of flak from those who accused him of interfering. However, the programme was a huge hit with viewers and led to the British government pledging to spend almost £300 million (then Dh2.34 trillion) on school dinners: “It went around 80 countries in the world who put it prime time – it went nuts. In Britain, there were standards for dog food but not for kids’ food in schools.”

It is about 13 years since then and he remains committed to improving food for children; all his recipe books now contain nutritional information so readers can make informed choices. “It doesn’t matter what book I’m writing, nutrition will always be there. Whether you use it or not is up to you but it’s there. It’s up front and it’s clear,” he explains.

Healthy eating has become his passion and is a value he and his wife, Juliette (Jools) have impressed upon their five children – Poppy Honey Rosie, 15; Daisy Boo Pamela, 14; Petal Blossom Rainbow, eight; Buddy Bear Maurice, seven; and River Rocket, one. The new book is dedicated to his five children – or his five ingredients. “Luck”, he jokes. “Now I can’t have any more.”

“My kids eat well at home. There’s no need for junk food because it’s expensive and why would you want it if you can cook?” he responds, proving that no fast food from burger outlets is ever to be found in the Oliver household.

The celebrity chef’s TV shows are famously a family affair, his wife, his children and even his grandmother have been known to make an appearance to help him out with some of his cooking. However, the inclusion of his children is not just for show, it’s because he firmly believes chi ldren should be taught to cook.

“Teaching my kids to cook, I do it for fun. Although it’s deeply ­political, they don’t know that – we just have fun learning about where food comes from, growing stuff,” he says. “That’s really important and that’s why I believe that every child in every country in every school should grow stuff.

“For me, knowing how to cook – that life skill – is what helps families, rich or poor, have a nice life. If we can gift that to our children in all of our countries, we’ve got the first pillar of a society right.”

parenting is tough so is being a child

It took me 20 years to talk about my childhood
28 September 2017
From the section Magazine Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with Messenger Share this with Email Share
Claudio at one of the orphanages he lived in as a childImage copyrightCLAUDIO YANEZ
In today’s Magazine

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Claudio Yanez always preferred not to talk about his childhood. He kept his distance from people and threw himself into his education and career. But a government report published last year about abuses in the public child care system in Chile brought back terrible memories of being taken into care at the age of 10. This is his story.
My mother was 23 years old when I was born. We lived in the centre of Chile. She was a cleaning lady and she wasn’t permitted to take me to work so she’d leave me with my godmother, who also worked as a cleaner.
When I was six years old I went to live with my grandmother in a remote town in the north and from then on I was sort of handed over from one place to the next – sent back to live with my father, then with my mother, then with my godmother.
It was impossible for me to bond with anyone – whenever I tried to establish a relationship with someone I was sent somewhere else.
I was emotionally confused. The person whom I thought was my mother wasn’t my mother at all – she was my godmother.
I didn’t feel that I was loved by anyone and as a child you feel those things – that no-one wants you, that you’re a bother, and that’s why they kept moving me around.
Find out more

Media captionListen to Claudio Yanez on Outlook: “There was a lot of abuse of power”
I had very erratic behaviour, I became very frustrated and violent to a point where they didn’t want me to be there and I didn’t want to be there either.
I rebelled against my mother and against her husband. I didn’t like the conditions that they were living in – it was place that had no drinking water, no electricity.
The only place I really liked was school, it was like an escape for me. I went there not only to learn but to be with friends, to be entertained, anything but to be at home where I didn’t want to go. I wished that the school hours were longer.
I ran away a lot from home. I would go out and sleep anywhere, on the hill… I just didn’t want to go back to a place where I wasn’t wanted.
All of sudden an adult showed up and took me to what in Chile we call a public care centre. But those places aren’t really care centres, they’re more like jails. They’re very violent places, they’re very aggressive places. There was extreme mistreatment there, not just from the workers, but also from the children themselves.
Claudio Yanez in one of the orphanages he lived in between 1987 and 1992Image copyrightCLAUDIO YANEZ
There was sexual abuse, there was corporal punishment, I’d never imagined I could be hit so hard. There was no access to education, no access to health services. There was this military language that they used with us. It was just a very dire situation.
There was a lot of abuse of power, like the time when they just pulled out the biggest boy and gave him a ladle and told him to strike us as hard as he could. All of us were crying from the blows that he gave us, and the person in charge was just laughing. He thought it was a big, big joke. He saw that we were crying so he reprimanded the big boy for having hit us so hard. He hit this big boy, so he ended up crying as well. But they were all laughing.
I realised that I was alone, that I could only depend on myself, and that it was up to me what I was going to become. I could become a crook, I could become a drug addict, but I could also become a good person.
But it was a very, very painful and difficult thing to realise that I was on my own, that there wasn’t anyone else there for me.
I was lucky enough to be recommended for a psychological test. The results came back and it so happened that I had a high IQ, so I became the first child from that place who was allowed to go to school. When the other students would go back to their houses after school I would go back to this place which for me was a jail.
I had a social worker that I could talk to and complain to, and they knew what was happening but they wouldn’t listen. And if complaints ever got back to the people who were doing the abuse it would be worse for us, so our choice was to bear it and keep quiet.
There was no camaraderie because this system mutilates your emotions – you feel nothing. You don’t feel any empathy, you don’t feel any sympathy. That happened to me, the moment I went in there was a change in my DNA.
I got to the point where I didn’t feel anything.
I was seeing this boy who was about to be raped and I felt nothing, because you’re there, in the law of the jungle, and you have to survive.
I decided to run away and a very kind family took me under their wing.
I kept studying, and after school I would spend some hours working at a hotel, where I met a family who were staying there as guests. I started talking about my life and they sympathised and they are my family to this day.
Claudio’s new familyImage copyrightCLAUDIO YANEZ
Image caption
Claudio’s new family: He is the boy with the big smile at the right of the middle row
Even though I was welcomed by this family I felt like a stranger, and it was hard trying to adjust to them, trying to adjust to this new environment. I wasn’t used to any love, I wasn’t used to any kindness.
You think you’re guilty, it’s your fault everything that happened to you as a child and as a youth. You carry this with you and it takes a lot to get rid of that.
You have to rebuild a new person. That took time, but eventually it happened.
Towards the end of university I started to feel more confident. I got a job, I’m a civil engineer and I’m now a high-ranking public servant.
I didn’t share any of this with anybody until last year. People who’ve gone through what I’ve gone through are always discriminated against – it’s like being branded and my country is a very bigoted and prejudiced country.
I didn’t want the doors to be closed once I had revealed what I’d been through and what my origins were. That was my great fear, I did not want to be exposed.
Claudio Yanez standing outside one of the orphanages he lived in as a childImage copyrightJAVIERA ALBARRÁN
But in light of recent revelations about the public care system in Chile, in which it came out that at least 1,300 children had died in the past 10 years under that system and many others have been mistreated or tortured, I decided to speak out about my past.
I thought that as a person who holds a high position and also as someone who has lived through all of that I should tell my story.
I’ve worked many, many years in the health sector and it very was surprising for my colleagues that this director, this manager had such a story, such an origin. I was really taken by the way they’ve reacted, it’s been a very positive reaction. It’s been very good for me and for them as well.
I have to accept that Chile has changed – it’s a completely different country from the one I was brought up in – it’s a more inclusive country and I think that’s what’s allowed my story to touch people.
Now I run a charity that helps children who are in this system. We’re faced with children who have no motivation at all, children who’ve been told they’re good for nothing, and we want to tell them that’s not the correct way.
We want to make dreams come true and for those who don’t have a dream we want to help them create a dream. Children can be whatever they want to be and we’re there to help them be whatever they wish to be.
My mother, who was 63, passed away a couple of weeks ago, and, of course, it was sad. But I had suffered and cried over losing her already, during my childhood. She was never there for me and every time I was lonely or in pain I felt her absence. Maybe I needed a final conversation with her.
Claudio Yanez was speaking to Outlook on the BBC World Service



Brazil revokes decree opening Amazon reserve to mining

Sluice boxes at a wildcat gold mine at a deforested area of Amazon rainforest in Para state (14/09/2017)Image copyrightREUTERS
Image caption
Activists feared revoking protection to the Renca reserve could compromise it
The Brazilian government has revoked a controversial decree that would have opened up a vast reserve in the Amazon to commercial mining.
The area, covering 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles), straddles the northern states of Amapa and Para.
It is thought to be rich in gold, iron, manganese and other minerals.
From the moment President Michel Temer signed the decree in August opening the reserve to commercial mining, it was widely condemned.
Activists and celebrities voiced concern that the area could be badly compromised.
One opposition senator, Randolfe Rodrigues of the Sustainability Network party, said at the time that it was the “biggest attack on the Amazon in the last 50 years”.
Amazon culture clash over Brazil’s dams
Brazil’s indigenous leaders fight for survival
Following the criticism, the government revised the decree, prohibiting mining in conservation or indigenous areas.
But a court later suspended the measure altogether, saying any change to the reserve’s status had to be considered by the Brazilian congress.
Graphic shows size of Renca area compared to the size of Denmark
On Monday, the government decided to scrap the decree.
It said it would reconsider the issue in the future, in a wider debate.
“Brazil needs to grow and create jobs, attract mining investment, and even tap the economic potential of the region,” said the Mines and Energy Ministry in a statement.
The BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson says this is a victory for environmentalists and a climb-down for the government.
Related Topics

passion & poisitivity

UAE comic Ali Bin Swelah delivers satire with a sharp edge
The Emirati online star Ali bin Swelah talks to The National about the real-life stories inspiring his sketches and his return to stand-up comedy

Saeed Saeed

September 25, 2017
Updated: September 25, 2017 08:20 PM

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 24 September 2017. Emirati Comedian Ali Bin Swelah at his home in Baniyas. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Saeed Saeed. Section: Arts & Culture.
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 24 September 2017. Emirati Comedian Ali Bin Swelah at his home in Baniyas. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Saeed Saeed. Section: Arts & Culture.
While the UAE is fast becoming a hot touring spot for high-profile international comedians, local comic talent is limited to sporadic open mic nights and the occasional regional comedy showcase. Wednesday, however, presents a genuine opportunity to see one of the country’s promising talents take the stage.

The Comedy Suite returns to the funky vinyl Dubai record store, The Flipside, with a special Arabic edition featuring Ali bin Swelah. The Emirati funny man – well, funny kid – makes his stage return after spending the year conquering social media with Instagram skits that earned him nearly 400,000 followers.

The 20-year-old explains that it was time to get back to the fundamentals and look his audience straight in the eye. “I look at myself as a stand-up comedian first,” he says. “I been so busy doing all these videos that I realised I was missing the stage. It will be a great chance to share my experiences and tell people what I have been up to.”

And that’s a lot. Over the space of three years, bin Swelah – whose real name is Ali Saleh – has dropped nearly 300 micro-comedy sketches on Instagram. The 60-second videos, on the account b9w.e, tackle a variety of social issues facing Arab youth across the region and use comedy that ranges from dry satire to slapstick.

This month alone, bin Swelah released topical videos examining the plethora of cards advertising massage services found on car dashboards (his take is the perpetrators evade the authorities through the use of a time machine), the agony of returning to school from the summer break (he is a Men in Black character erasing the weepy kid’s holiday memories) and the struggle of avoiding an annoying acquaintance at the Corniche.

Bin Swelah, who was born in Al Ain before moving to Banyias, explains he runs a pretty tight operation. Starring his friends, the videos are shot using a standard digital camera and often edited himself. That leanness allows him to turn inspiration to produced skit within days.

“A lot of these videos are based on real-life situations,” he says. “They mostly come from me listening to people’s stories and experiences. They would share some of the things they went through in the course of their day and that gives me the idea. Many people don’t realise that what they go through is actually funny.”

One example is that yearly dilemma of end-of-year exams. In one video, bin Swelah achieving what a good satirist does, to expose the absurdity of some of our life choices.

Posted nearly two years ago, the video begins with bin Swelah talking to the camera stating “during the school year…” before cutting to him dancing joyfully to a boisterous club song. He then returns as solemn host to say, “but once the exams approach…” and the video cuts to bin Swelah the student. He is in tears as he raises his hands in prayer pleading to God to let him pass.

In another skit, he and a friend attend a job interview where they quickly realise communicating in English is a required skill.

“Are you an animal?” the Emirati manager asks, to which both applicants give a resounding yes. “Now, that actually came from a real-life situation,” bin Swelah recalls. “This was someone who was looking for a job. So he goes to this interview where he knew they needed English but he gave it a shot anyway. The only English he knows is ‘hello, my name is Ali’ and ‘yes’ and ‘no’. He spent the whole interview just saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ without actually knowing what they were saying.”

The struggle of the region’s youth to gain employment is a recurring theme in bin Sweilah’s skits. In another inspired video, dropped in February, he is sharing a coffee with an Emirati businessman in a restaurant. The gentleman is puzzled by how bin Swelah remained jobless despite the countless job fairs he has attended.

“I went to many,” he bemoans in the video. “You go to the fair and you approach the staff to apply but they say ‘habib, you need to apply online’.”

The elder is unconvinced: “So all these people who are at the fair to help you, what you are saying is that you didn’t get anything out of it?”

Bin Swelah replies: “Of course I did. The first thing I got was some great flash drives. Then there were all those sweets that we can have. And now, they are starting to give us portable phone chargers. It is great.”

Bin Swelah makes a point in stating these videos are not mere spoofs. He says he is not interested in producing content without a purpose.

“There is a lesson behind every story, and for me they are all about positivity. I want to talk about things that relate to young people, to encourage young people to aim high, to study, work hard and achieve success. I just tell them in my own way,” he says.

Bin Swelah discovered he had a great knack for spinning a good tale during his high school years in Al Ain. It was the playground that planted the seed for his stand-up career. While he admits he wasn’t coolest kid at school, bin Swelah says he always had a good story to tell his peers.

“I would tell my friends about the things that I have seen the other day and, before you know it, there was big circle and people were listening.

“I realised that people were enjoying the way I was telling these stories. I would make them laugh and they would be intrigued about where I was going with it.”

Bin Swelah knew he was onto something potentially life-changing once he began performing impromptu stand-up gigs around Abu Dhabi and started posting his sporadic skit videos online.

A fully-fledged member of region’s social media savvy generation – bin Swelah is active in Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat – he explains these platforms have levelled the playing field when it comes to discovering talent.

“It is a totally different situation now in that you don’t have to spend all your time or money trying to get an agent or know someone in a television channel,” he says.

“Everyone has a chance now and you get an immediate reaction to your work. Instead of getting an agent to support you, it is the online audience who are the agents. They are the ones that are going to spread your name and get you the opportunities. But you need to keep producing good work at the same time.”

Bin Swelah says Wednesday’s appearance at The Flipside will mark the next stage of his comedy career, which will allow him to focus more on his live performances. “It has been a while, so I do view the show as challenge for myself,” he says. “But I have learned to have confidence in myself. Hopefully, this will lead to other chances such as stage plays or more touring. I just want to go out there and meet people and show what I can do, and, of course, see if there are any more stories to tell.”

Ali bin Swelah performs at The Comedy Suite, The Flipside Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai, Wednesday. Doors open at 7.30pm, show starts at 8.30pm


can you spot the twisting of truth?

Can you spot when people twist the truth? (Why using EQ is important when recruiting)

Mon 04
Given their training and experience of talking to a wide variety of different people, recruiters are expected to be better than the layperson at spotting a candidate’s potential and at identifying lies and deception.

Plus, in the current economic crisis the drive to reduce the candidate cost per hire without impacting on quality, HR managers and recruiters have to demonstrate how their expertise will stop organisations losing money from poor recruitment decisions.

With the recruitment industry estimating that the average recruitment cost, taken from the point of placing the advert to the candidate making a performance impact, is 2.5 times the candidate’s salary, the cost to the organisation if a recruiter makes the wrong recruitment decision is significant.

Unfortunately, research by Marc-André Reinhard, Martin Scharmach, and Patrick Müller, suggests that recruiters are not any better at identifying those candidates who have the experience and potential to perform well in the job and those candidates who lie about their potential and experience to convince the recruiter they are the right person for the job.

Their research suggests that most recruiters are no better at spotting a candidate’s lies than a layperson.

Reinhard and his team conducted research which had 350 participants watch video clips of interviewees talking about jobs they have had, both fictional and real. Over a quarter of the participants had experience of interviewing at least once, while around 13 percent were considered experts. The rest had never conducted an interview before.

Each participant was tasked to identify in which clip the interviewees were telling the truth and in which they had made up stories about their jobs.

The results of the research showed that the participants, in general, were right only 52 percent of the time, almost by chance.

This finding is not new; it has been established in previous research that people are generally not good at identifying deceit.

Plus, research has continually shown that interviewing alone (especially unstructured interviews) are at worse no better than flipping a coin (right 50 percent of the time) and at best only right about 70 percent of the time.

What’s new from the research is the finding that even the so-called interview experts (recruiters) were not better at identifying lies than the layperson.

If a recruiter cannot identify which candidates were lying or managing their impressions during their selection interview, then the chances of making the wrong recruitment decision and the associated costs are obviously significantly increased.

The EBW View

Obviously, there is some criticism of this research. Reinhard and his colleagues admit that their research has limitations. The participants did not conduct a real interview and there was no interaction between them and the interviewees.

Plus, in some job roles (such as sales), a candidate who can manage their impression (put on a good impression perhaps rather than lie) will perform better than those who are not able to.

However, despite these limitations, the findings have major implications that those involved in the recruitment process should consider.

Recruiting personnel is expensive. It takes a lot of time and resources to conceptualise, write and distribute the job ad; sift through the applications received; make the initial contact with short-listed candidates; set up the selection process and conduct interviews and make the job offer.

Then, if you make the wrong decision because a candidate is managing their impression, that can cause your recruitment process to be very costly.

This is where the EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System can make a difference.

The EBW Psychometric System is focused on identifying the Business Emotional Intelligence (Business EQ) of candidates. This kind of intelligence – which is different from the IQ – is about people’s ability to manage their emotional drivers that affect their performance at work.

It is how individuals manage both themselves and others. This includes: how they make decisions, understanding why people behave the way they do and how to maximise their performance.

Research has shown that Emotional Intelligence at work is crucial to produce leaders and workers who will succeed in the workplace and more likely stay and develop within the organisation.

A major component of the EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System is its Impression Management Tool (IMT) that reveals what candidates do not want recruiters to know.

Is the candidate attempting to fix their assessment answers?

What kind of impression is the candidate trying to make?

Is the candidate being honest with themselves?

The EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System ensures that recruiters are able to discover how much candidates are managing their impressions.

It also provides bespoke “traffic lighted” questions, a structure to the interview and a step-by-step guide for interviewing for Business EQ and performance potential, ensuring a smarter use of time for busy recruiters & managers.

By focusing on candidate’s Business EQ – how they will perform in the workplace in a given situation – recruiters need not worry anymore about wasting resources during the recruitment process itself and will reduce the risk of not spotting those candidates who manage their impression (or lie) during the recruitment process.


Reinhard, M., Scharmach, M., & Müller, P. (2013). It’s not what you are, it’s what you know: Experience, beliefs, and the detection of deception in employment interviews. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 43 (3), 467-479.