'Jamie Oliver at Home' gets cooking in the Hope Artiste Village

'Jamie Oliver at Home' gets cooking in the Hope Artiste Village

PAWTUCKET - Jamie Oliver, the international icon of cooking and party planning, has decided that the U.S. is his next frontier and Pawtucket's Hope Artiste Village will serve as the launching point for his latest venture.

Jamie Oliver At Home, the North American offshoot of Oliver's Jamie at Home brand in the United Kingdom, offers an "exciting opportunity" to start and grow an independent business with a product anyone can be proud of, say those behind it.

Company President and CEO Tim Brown, a former executive with Princess House, said he was drawn to the Hope Artiste Village at 1005 Main St. for one reason, it's wildly popular Pawtucket Farmers Market and the desire to be among the droves of people who frequent it each week.

"I said if we do this business with Jamie, I want to be in that hallway," said Brown. No matter how much the U.S. version of Jamie Oliver's business expands, he said, "I see us always having a space at the Hope Artiste Village."

Already, said Brown, at least 20 people from the area have signed up or are in the process of signing up to become independent consultants for the U.S. version of the company. Many have stopped by on their way through the farmers market to buy local produce.

Jamie Oliver At Home, which hosted a grand opening celebration last Wednesday, is a direct sales business offering self-employed consultants the chance to work in partnership with Oliver to sell the "gorgeous" Jme product range," according to a news release.

"We give anyone the opportunity to earn some extra cash, meet new people, or simply share Jamie's passion for bringing people together and getting them in the kitchen to have some fun," it states.

Since launching in early 2009 in the United Kingdom, more than 4,000 people have joined Jamie at Home, making it one of the fastest growing direct selling businesses in the country. Jamie Oliver, with his trademark casual attire, tousled hair, and "amazing energy and passion," according to Brown, is the British chef, TV personality, author and restaurateur behind it.

"This new venture celebrates and combines Jamie's passion for food, education and bringing people together in the home," states the website, www.jamieoliverathome.com , where potential new consultants can sign up any time.

Food "is supposed to be fun" and "social," said Brown, who for many years has enjoyed being creative in his own kitchen. Everything about Jamie Oliver At Home will be done with that belief in mind, that people should enjoy cooking and eating their food but live a better and healthier life as they do so.

This business is not just about selling quality products and making lots of money, said Brown, as proven with Oliver's famed annual "Food Day Revolution," held at locations across Rhode Island last Friday, May 17. Among the many events, college students gathered at the Rhode Island School of Design to learn how to make better dorm food.

Oliver also runs the Better Food Foundation, an organization designed to provoke conversation about how to feed and teach children at school and at home.

"Everything we do is about improving lives through a better education and understanding of food, where it comes from and how it affects our bodies," states the foundation website. Those who buy a product at a Jamie Oliver At Home party have the option to "round up" to benefit the foundation and its goal of fighting obesity.

According to Brown, of Providence, he and his U.S. team have plans to be every bit as successful as the U.K. version, eventually signing on 50,000, 60,000, even 70,000 U.S. and Canadian consultants for a business that is very similar in concept to The Pampered Chef. Brown's wife Amelia is the founding consultant for Jamie Oliver At Home.

Consultants have no pressure to do all the selling of the product to customers, as the charismatic Oliver "attends" each in-home party by video to share his "better food, better life" message and to tell what makes his products great. Kitchen items, from pizza wheels to antipasti platters to six-sided graters, can be purchased either through at the party or eventually on the Jamie Oliver At Home website, www.jamieoliverathome.com .

The Jme products have a decidedly retro/vintage look, with a 2013 upgrade on the quality of the product, according to Brown and Michelle Girasole, creative marketing director for Jamie Oliver At Home. These are the products he uses every day in his own kitchen, said Girasole, so it's important that they both look great and be highly functional. For instance, the Jme garlic press can also be used to pit olives.

Jamie Oliver, who has authored 14 cookbooks and sold more than 35 million copies worldwide, is all over social media. He can be found on just about all the sites. Find out all about Oliver at www.jamieoliver.com .