Chilli Gate – Jamie Oliver admits to punishing his daughter with apples rubbed with hot chillies

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I’ve been interviewed on lots of BBC Radio phone – ins today about Jamie Oliver’s punishment of his daughter for being rude by  rubbing her apple in very hot chillies.

Jamie has been quoted as saying,’You can’t smack naughty kids so I make mine eat chillies instead’ The famous Chef admits he rubbed apple with Scotch Bonnet as punishment for his daughter

  • Jamie Oliver said his 12-year-old daughter Poppy was being disrepectful
  • He decided to rub the spicy chilli pepper into slices of a chopped up apple
  • Wife of 14 years, Jools, told him to never do it again as he stood laughing
  • A Scotch Bonnet has a heat rating of 100,000-350,000 on Scoville scale  


With four young children underfoot, Jamie Oliver has resorted to drastic methods of enforcing discipline.

The TV chef said he gives his brood hot peppers if they misbehave.

He explained: ‘I give them chillies for punishment. It is not very popular beating kids any more, it’s not very fashionable and you are not allowed to do it and if you are a celebrity chef like me it does not look very good in the paper. So you need a few options.’

He said he once tricked his 12-year-old daughter into eating Scotch Bonnet, a particularly fiery chilli – much to the annoyance of his wife, Jools. 

At the BBC Good Food Show, Oliver said: ‘Poppy was quite disrespectful and rude to me and she pushed her luck. In my day I would have got a bit of a telling-off but you are not allowed to do that.

‘Five minutes later she thought I had forgotten and I hadn’t. She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with Scotch Bonnet and it worked a treat. She ran up to mum and said, “This is peppery”. I was in the corner laughing. [Jools] said to me, “Don’t you ever do that again”.’

Scotch Bonnets have a rating of 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures heat.

Most jalapenos are just 2,500 to 8,000.

Given his struggle to impose order on daughters Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, 11, and Petal Blossom Rainbow, five, and son Buddy Bear Maurice, four perhaps he needs to work with me to look at hundreds of different ways to discipline his children with fair, consistent, firm rules and boundaries that don’t appear rather immature and unkind.

Children are motivated TOWARDS something like a sticker, an extra story at bedtime or staying up 10 minutes later, or AWAY FROM something like the removal of a privilege eg their TV or Computer Time.

Of course the rules you set up need to be age appropriate and grow and evolve as your child matures but you need to be clear on what is and what isn’t, acceptable to you  as a parent, and be consistent in the carrying out of the consequences when your rules are broken. Talking to your partner is also a good idea so your kids don’t play you off against each other.

I have to say I wasn’t very impressed with Jamie laughing at his daughter as I just wonder what lesson she really learnt about her father from the incident.

What are your thoughts?


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