He has told how, as a boy, people dismissed him as thick because of his severe dyslexia.
Which only makes it even more remarkable that Jamie Oliver has just been named as Britain's second biggest-selling author since records began - with total book sales of £126 million ($248 million)
The Essex-born television chef and school meals campaigner, who has sold more than 10 million cook books, is ranked second only to Harry Potter author J K Rowling.
Ms Rowling's seven books about the boy wizard have generated sales of more than £237.6 million.
The newly released sales figures have been compiled by The Bookseller - the publishing industry's trade magazine. It has drawn up lists of Britain's 50 most successful authors and the country's 50 biggest-selling titles.
Father-of-four Oliver, 37, who is famous for his 'Pukka' catchphrase and whose bestsellers include The Naked Chef and Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, is joined on the bestseller list by some of his culinary rivals.
Delia Smith is in tenth place, Nigella Lawson is ranked 19th and Gordon Ramsay is towards the bottom of the chart at 45.
Together, the four chefs account for 40 per cent of all the cook books sold in Britain since records began in 1998.
The success of the chefs is due in no small part to the fact that all four have fronted high-profile TV shows - and other television personalities and celebrities also feature strongly in the list.
They include Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who is ranked at 24, television gardener and chatshow host Alan Titchmarsh at 42, and former Page 3 girl Katie Price, who is 46th.
Perhaps most surprising is the presence of Richard Parsons, the author of bestselling GCSE study guides, at No 8.
Publishers have long known that sex sells and the charts also reflect the runaway success of the Fifty Shades Of Grey series of erotic novels which have sold more than 8.9 million copies in less than a year.
E L James, the British author of the books who was unknown this time last year, is now Britain's 26th most successful writer, ahead of more established favourites such as Wilbur Smith and Josephine Cox. Fifty Shades Of Grey, the first instalment of her trilogy, has sold more than 3.9 million copies and is currently seventh on the list of bestsellers.
That puts it narrowly ahead of its sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, which are ranked 13th and 14th. But American writer Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code is still the country's biggest-selling book, having sold more than 5.2 million copies. Brown himself is the sixth most successful author.
Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author of the Millennium series of novels, which were published posthumously, is ranked at No 36 with sales worth more than £32 million. Several of Britain's most celebrated novelists including Ian McEwan, the author of Atonement, and Birdsong writer Sebastian Faulks also feature. Faulks, who is ranked 35, has sold 4.6 million books since 1998 and is only narrowly ahead of McEwan on 4.5 million.
Children's literature, remains a potent sales force. As well as Rowling, the prolific Enid Blyton - author of Noddy, the Famous Five and many other story series - is at No 37.
Meanwhile Tracey Beaker creator Jacqueline Wilson, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and Roger Hargreaves the creator of the Mr Men stories are also in the Top 50.
Noticeable by their absence are classic works such as Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen. The Bookseller believes this is partly because they achieved the bulk of their sales before 1998.
- The Daily Mail