'Naked Chef' Jamie Oliver to Mix Business and Pleasure on Korea Trip

World-famous British chef Jamie Oliver seems to be eyeing venturing into the Korean food business. With his first visit to Korea at the end of this month, Oliver will discuss a business plan with CJ Group, a CJ spokesman said on Wednesday.  

The 37-year-old chef has built his reputation by introducing simple recipes and adding natural flavors to dishes on his TV cooking program. His show is now being aired in about 40 countries as his popularity continues to grow.

Female viewers find his cute image and easygoing, unpretentious personality endearing, as he tends to cook with his hair disheveled and shirt half open. In 2003, Oliver was honored as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his contribution to spreading British culinary culture.

He is also known to be a fan of Korean cuisine. In his magazine, called simply "Jamie Magazine," he introduced a Korean bulgogi sandwich -- a baguette stuffed with marinated barbecued beef -- last October. He has also posted stories about Korean food and London's Myungga restaurant in his personal blog.

Oliver first told CJ Group that he wanted to visit the country to learn more about Korean food. The company said that he was very interested in this subject and excited to learn that his cooking program was aired in Korea. Industry insiders say CJ and Oliver will likely launch an international restaurant business using the "Jamie Oliver" brand.

There is also speculation that he will open a branch of his restaurant Fifteen, in Seoul.

"We haven't discussed anything in detail yet, but we will sound him out about the possibility of a collaboration when he visits," said CJ.

Oliver became noticed after he appeared in a BBC documentary about a famous British restaurant while working there. In 1998, he rose to stardom with his show, "The Naked Chef," while he was still in his mid-20s. His cookbooks remain best sellers in the U.K.

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