He is also my nemesis, because I could so easily have been Jamie Oliver. The parallels are there.
The fact that I am not is all my parents’ fault, of course.
We both grew up in family-run pubs and both had to help out from the age of eight. Jamie’s parents put him to work in the pub kitchen, where he spent his time chopping and peeling vegetables, slowly learning how to prepare and cook food. He would go on from this to become a world famous celebrity with oodles of cash.
My parents, by contrast, had me chopping wood for the fire, stocking the bar up, and changing beer barrels, slowly learning to enjoy the taste of stale beer. And, after my early career as a pyromaniac fizzled out, I would go on to become a bitter, penniless alcoholic.
In 2001, I finally caught up with my nemesis as he walked, hand in hand with his wife Joolz, past the Pig and Fiddle pub in Bath. I was outside on their beer patio, having a drink with my sister.
Both of us decided that Jamie and Joolz would find it hilarious and touching if we started shouting “Joolz! Joolz! Jamie! Jamie!” until they turned around.
Thrillingly, they did.
Jamie cocked an eyebrow, questioningly.
“It’s pukka, mate!” I managed to bellow. “Fucking pukka!”
I held up my glass as if to toast them, but rather than smile in grateful recognition at this fanboy display, Jamie simply shook his head, whilst mouthing something that looked very much like “Wanker”, before walking away forever.