When Jamie Oliver launched his new "punchy" jerk rice in supermarkets, he hoped consumers would fall head over heels for a dish "made with love" and bursting with "attitude".

But last night his "knockout" creation became the subject of an extraordinary backlash, as Dawn Butler, the shadow equalities minister, accused the celebrity chef of cultural "appropriation".

Confronting Oliver on Twitter, Ms Butler questioned whether he understood what "Jerk" was and suggested that he receive a "masterclass" from Levi Roots, the British-Jamaican reggae musician and cook.

Ms Butler, who is the MP for Brent Central and the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, said that it was "not just a word you put before stuff to sell products", adding: "this appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop".

Advertisement

READ MORE: • Jamie Oliver's restaurant debt

It comes four years after Oliver, the world's wealthiest chef, faced criticism over a recipe for Jollof rice, a West African dish. His recipe, published in June 2014, was heavily criticised for changing the method and ingredients used.

Ms Butler's comments were later echoed by Regina Holland, a human resources assistant of Jamaican descent, who said that the dish was a "bastardisation of our national dish".

Ms Holland also pointed out that there was no such thing as 'jerk rice', adding: "There's no such thing as jerk rice apart from what Jamie Oliver has concocted.

"Anybody from any nationality can eat anything they want, there are just some dishes that are best left alone and enjoyed how they're supposed to be made.r, Ms Butler's intervention due a mixed reaction online, with some commentators questioning whether criticising a brand of rice was the best use of her time.

Meanwhile, David Llewellyn, a Welsh novelist and writer of the BBC Drama series Torchwood, challenged Oliver over the ingredients of the dish.

"I was about to headbutt my desk...because most cultural appropriation brouhahas are nonsense," he added. "Then I saw this description. On what planet can 'garlic, ginger and jalapenos' be described as 'jerk'?

"I've made jerk marinade, and the only ingredient of those three that I used - following about half a dozen different recipes for reference - was garlic.

Advertisement

"It's like stamping a Union Jack on "traditional fish and chips" except the fish is a salmon en croute and the chips are crisps."

Believed to have originated among African slaves brought to the Caribbean by the British and Spanish during the 17th century, jerk is a marinade used to dry-rub meat.

Its primary ingredients are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, and typically used when cooking chicken or pork. The term is believed to have come from the the word "ch'arki", a hispanic word for dried or salted meat.

However:

They included Stephen Pollard, an author and commentator, who said: "This woman is in the shadow cabinet. She's objecting to the name of a recipe."

She was also mocked by Neil O'Brien, the Conservative MP for Oadby and Wigston, who said: "If Jamie Oliver isn't allowed to make Jerk chicken because it's cultural "appropriation" she's going to go mad when she finds out about 'Jamie's Italy'."

Oliver's £2.30 microwaveable rice is vegetarian and includes garlic, ginger and jalapenos. It is sold in most supermarkets.

The row began when Marti Burgess, the associate director of law firm Gregg Latchams, tweeted a picture of the jerk rice in her local supermarket.

A spokesman for Oliver was unavailable when approached for comment last night.

The row comes amid growing concern for the chef's restaurant empire, which has been forced to close 12 of its restaurants in recent months due to tough trading conditions and a fall in sales.

Ms Butler, who took office in September last year, was recently involved in another high-profile row with Lord Sugar, who she reported to the House of Lords watchdog after he compared Senegalese football team to beach vendors in Marbella.

She also called on the BBC, which airs the business tycoon's series the Apprentice, to investigate him over the incident.