Seeking the perfect recipe for literary success this Christmas? Take one Jamie Oliver, spread evenly over 300 pages and serve to a public hungry to eat up any offering from the school-dinner-hating kitchen dynamo who, at least, now refrains from saying “pukka” every five minutes.
As someone who once tuned in to see a younger floppy-haired version of the Toploader-lover zoom around London on a scooter delivering stuffed pasta and buffalo mozarrella to groups of actors pretending to be his friends, the rise of Oliver is astounding.
The key transition came when the chef got serious about school dinners with a TV series and government campaign that made Turkey Twizzlers about as popular as rickets.
Since then young Jamie can do no wrong, from 15 minute meals to even daring to ditch Sainsbury’s who have since resorted to hiring David Beckham in his place – a man who looks like he would struggle to cook a Pot Noodle, never mind a light Valencian paella.
All of which means it’s hardly surprising to see Oliver as Ladbrokes’ current favourite in the coveted Christmas Number One book market.
Jamie’s “Comfort Food” is priced at 5/1 to take top spot and, personal preferences aside, I would rather see the culinary king come out on top than some of the other frontrunners.
Next up in the betting is David Walliams’ “Awful Auntie” at 6/1 – a book written by a man living off the vapours of the success that Little Britain afforded and last seen pulling childish faces and dancing around on a table for Britain’s Got Talent. Just to be clear, he was a judge not a contestant.
The Guinness Book of Records is back to offer kids another chance to look at pictures of bearded women and midgets at 7/1 while Russell Brand’s “Revolution”, June Steenkamp’s “Reeva: A Mother’s Story” and James Martin’s Oliver rip-off “Home Comforts” are on at 8/1.
The recently-departed Lynda Bellingham is also available at 8/1 with her memoir “There’s Something I’ve Been Dying to Tell You” while Roy Keane’s “The Second Half” is at 10/1.
Fingers crossed then for a Christmas miracle that sees Keane make mincemeat of Oliver in the charts – otherwise it may be best to brace yourself for a cookery book in the stocking this year.
Take a look at the full list of runners and riders here.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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