IPSWICH has leapt to the defence of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has been targeted by British tabloids for appearing to have put on some extra weight.
The stories emerged after photos of Mr Oliver were taken in Sydney and Melbourne this week which appeared to show the healthy food advocate had sampled some fatty foods himself.
Several of the photos were taken at the launch of his second Ministry of Food, in Melbourne, where he announced a partnership with the Victorian Government and the Good Foundation to attack obesity.
Under the new scheme, which copies the pioneering Ipswich Ministry of Food, $5 million will be put towards helping to teach cooking techniques and nutrition in an attempt to attack obesity.
But Ipswich fans who watched Mr Oliver cook up a storm at d'Arcy Doyle Place on Saturday said his appearance was far from portly.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said Mr Oliver looked as fit as a fiddle as he cooked chicken fajitas in front of 500 of his fans.
He said if Mr Oliver was sick of the constant badgering of the tabloids, he would be more than welcome to call Ipswich home.
He added that he expected nothing else from UK tabloids.
"He was pretty healthy.
"This is typical of the UK media.
"Jamie Oliver is a great ambassador for Britain and they should treat him like one.
"They can keep their smutty press over there," he said.
As Mr Oliver picked up a young fan on Saturday, Cr Pisasale recalled the celebrity chef remarking that a British tabloid would report he had just met his illegitimate son.
"Instead of seeing what a great ambassador he is they just want to look at the negatives," Cr Pisasale said.
"He looked as fit as a fiddle.
"He was walking around in the rain signing autographs.
"He's nothing but a great ambassador.
"If they don't want him he can come and live in Ipswich."
Jamie Oliver fan Louisa Janke was one of the Ipswich fans who saw him in the flesh on Saturday.
She said Mr Oliver was a picture of health.
"He looked healthy, great, amazing.
"If you were comparing him to the skinny kid he was, he now looks like a natural man," she said.
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