Jamie Oliver's 'Jamie's Meals in Minutes' has a need for speed

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It's one of the biggest struggles in nearly everyone's daily routine -- coming up with a fresh, healthy meal when your schedule clearly says no. And no matter how easy it can be, some people still opt for Chinese takeout. But it's not just those people that Jamie Oliver wants to convince and inspire with his new series, "Jamie's Meals in Minutes" -- Tuesdays through Fridays on BBC America. It's everybody.

The challenge, according to Oliver, is simple: In 30 minutes, anyone can make great meals from scratch. He knows not everyone will believe that, but he insists the half-hour limitation isn't really the point.

"For me, it's not about racing to try to do a meal in 30 minutes, especially not the first time you try them," he tells Zap2it. "It's more about a different way of cooking; training yourself to cook in this methodical way so that if you've only got half an hour and you need to make something tasty and exciting, you can do it. The first time you try a recipe, it might take you a little longer, but once you get into the rhythm of the recipes you'll find yourself getting quicker every time."

Oliver takes viewers through the process with a step-by-step, no-nonsense approach that keeps people focused and encourages confidence.

"I really just want to inspire people and show that you can get a table full of great food ready in 30 minutes," he says. "It's a different way of cooking, and if you've got more time to spare, maybe on the weekend, then by all means do a slow roast or a stew or whatever. But if you're against the clock on a weekday evening, and you've got hungry people to feed, this series is for you."

What are you currently reading?

"I'm dyslexic, so I don't really read, apart from recipe books and when I read with the kids. The older girls, especially Poppy, could read for hours. I don't know where they get it from, but it's great."

What was your original impetus for this series?

"Simply to show that it can be done. When the series aired in the U.K., there were loads of people saying they couldn't do the meals in 30 minutes, and equally loads of people saying that they could."

What is your next project?

"I'm finishing off a new series and book that will be out in the U.K. in the fall and in the U.S. maybe next year or the year after. This summer I will be making a series of appearances on the 'Today' show for the Olympics, and on October 2, my new book in the U.S. comes out -- 'Jamie Oliver's Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, From Comfort Food to New Classics.' "

When was the last vacation you took - where and why?

"I went to the French Alps with a few friends. We try to get some skiing in every winter -- snow, sunshine, great food and laughter. What more could you want?"
Photo/Video credit: BBC America