Jamie Oliver spikes his child’s food with spicy peppers as punishment: awful?

Jamie Oliver

This is a photo of Jamie Oliver with Kate Hudson as they filmed an episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight in London. Kate reportedly ate fried macaroni and cheese, probably because Jamie bossed her into it. Overbearing Jamie has kept a low profile in the U.S. ever since his Food Revolution show got the ax by ABC. That show was quintessential Jamie. He dressed up like a tomato, filled a school bus with sugar, and tried to persuade parents to feed their kids healthy meals.

Jaime’s promoting a different, UK-based show now, so he’s talking a lot. He ‘fessed up his new favorite way to discipline his tween daugther. He doesn’t ground her or scold her. Nope. He spikes her food with one of the world’s hottest peppers:

From the don’t-try-this-at-home files: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver said recently that he secretly gave his 12-year-old daughter, Poppy, one of the world’s hottest peppers in order to discipline her.

At the recent BBC Good Food show, Oliver said, “Poppy was quite disrespectful and rude to me and she pushed her luck. In my day I would have got a bit of a telling-off but you are not allowed to do that. Five minutes later she thought I had forgotten and I hadn’t. She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with Scotch Bonnet and it worked a treat.”

“She ran up to mum and said, ‘This is peppery.’ I was in the corner laughing. [My wife, Jools] said to me, ‘Don’t you ever do that again.’”

How spicy is a Scotch Bonnet pepper? It ranks a whopping 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville heat unit scale; for comparison, a jalepeño has a score of 3,000 to 6,000 units.

At least his kid-friendly rainbow salad wrap is completely pepper-free

[From People]

Dang. Jamie disciplined his daughter by spiking her snack with one of the spiciest entries on the pepper scale. These peppers range anywhere from 12 to 140 times hotter than your standard jalapeno! Then he laughed about it as his daughter freaked out. That’s not discipline, that’s being mean. Whatever happened to taking away your kid’s prized possession when they throw attitude? That works pretty fast in my experience. Jamie decided to give his kid a fiery tongue and a stomach ache instead. Someday, his daughter’s gonna wise up and drop some Ex-Lax into Jamie’s fancy coffee pot.

Jamie Oliver

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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135 Responses to “Jamie Oliver spikes his child’s food with spicy peppers as punishment: awful?”

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  1. swack says:

    That is so wrong. There are many other ways to punish a 12 year old.

    • Lucinda says:

      The passive-aggressive nature of it is what really irritates me. She’s acting like a child so to teach her a lesson he…acts like a child? I liked his first season of Food Revolution because I thought he made some good points but by the second season he had become screechy and whiny while creating contrived controversy and being a condescending jerk. So yeah, this story is pretty much right in line with my opinion of him.

    • hip says:

      that is cuckoo and i know from cuckoo

  2. elisabeth says:

    excuse my language but what a sh-tbag

  3. Jessica says:

    That’s just cruel.

    • Arnu says:

      It was mean-spirited & cruel, but this article’s title is misleading. I wouldn’t call it discipline — that implies systematic use if a tactic. It was a one-off revenge prank. I have never liked this twit.

  4. Cel says:

    I hope he is joking because I’ve come across this type of punishment in the past working in child care. It was always to be reported to the authorities according to every supervisor I’ve worked under. Not sure how it would e a very effective form of discipline anyways.

    • bella says:

      i think this would be considered an assault and a crime.
      that aside, my grandmother rubbed hot pepper on my thumb to prevent me from sucking it as a child.
      i was very young, but remember vividly how wildly HOT my mouth was.
      and i was very confused, too…my grandmother’s face was so mean as she was doing it…and because i had no idea what would happen, it didn’t prevent me from sucking my thumb again.
      i was a child, true, but i bet his tween daughter felt the same betrayal…just plain MEAN.

      • Wren says:

        I’ve done this to prevent horses from chewing on wood fences, it only works if you keep up the application. Once it wears off they’re back to wood chewing. And then of course some of them actually like the heat.

    • Wren says:

      Yeah, isn’t the point of discipline for the kid to know what they’re being punished for? So they don’t do it again? This sounds like a mean practical joke more than anything else. The kind of thing teen boys would do to each other. In fact, I think something very like this happened in high school among my guy friends.

      • chloeee says:

        I had a biting problem when I was a kid and my mom would give me a spoonful of pickled jalapeno brine. I learned real fast. Until I learned spicy was yummy.

      • @chloeee
        My little sister had a bit of a ‘biting problem’. She went on a biting spree at her daycare. And my mom tried to talk with her, etc, but she did it again. And again. And I’m not talking about some little, cute little bites from a baby–I’m talking about biting that left deep bruising–turned purple, yellow, and green. So finally my mom bit her on the arm, back, hard. And she never bit again.

  5. Pomegranate says:

    Not only pointless as a teaching tool but a super crappy thing to do to someone.

  6. BooBooLaRue says:

    Sorry but this is child abuse.

    • doofus says:

      my exact thought.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. I can’t believe he even admitted it, shows how clueless he is I guess.

    • Lala says:

      Agreed. Torture is not discipline.
      We had a case where I live of the step mom punishing her kids with cayenne pepper or hot sauce. She took it to far one time and killed her 5 or six year old step daughter. She is now on trial.

  7. FingerBinger says:

    This story reminded me of Joel Steinberg. He did the same thing to Lisa Steinberg and Hedda Nussbaum. I’m not saying Jamie is abusive ,but that’s abusive behavior.

    • BooBooLaRue says:

      OMG I remember that story, it was so horrible. I lived in NYC during that time and it was so shocking to a much younger me.

  8. Abbicci says:

    And in addition to a ‘punishment’ that makes him look like a mentally unbalanced idiot he thought the tale was hilarious enough to share in promoting his new book and series about comfort food.

    No joke, comfort food. Because abusing your child and comfort food go hand in hand in Jamie Oliver’s mind.

    Jamie is the British equivalent of a douchebag.

  9. chaine says:

    Way to set up your kid to be fearful of eating healthy snacks, D*****bag.

    • BoredAndExtremelyDangerous says:

      She’s 12. She needed her dad to “prepare” an apple for her and couldn’t just go and grab an apple for herself? I really like him, but this really was mean.

  10. Tammy says:

    This is child abuse!

  11. Duchess of Corolla says:

    That is awful and abusive. What if she’d had some horrible reaction to the pepper…not just a burning tongue?

    • Jag says:

      It would have put me in the hospital with an asthma attack. I can’t tolerate even jalapeno peppers. You’re exactly correct in that this could have been a story about him being mean and then having to rush his daughter to the hospital instead!

      This reminds me of some lady who was in the news for putting hot sauce on her child’s tongue as discipline some time ago. Can’t remember which actress or whatever she was, but it was a big deal. I think she admitted it in a book, but can’t remember.

      • Cirien says:

        That’s exactly what I was going to say!!! She was on Doctor Phil, and they had footage of her making her adopted child (from Russia) “swill” hot sauce for like a minute before he could spit it out as a punishment. She also made him stand under freezing cold water in the shower.

        I don’t even like or want kids and what breaks my heart is how accepting of this treatment the kid was to it. I can’t remember if the kids was taken away or not though.

        Jamie is an arsehole, and considering the fact he’s freely admitted employing a paedophile in his kitchens, along with bitching about Supermarkets and the kind of food they sell, I’m hating on him.

      • Cirien says:

        Wait maybe we’re thinking of two people? *confused*

  12. Erinn says:

    I got soap to the tongue once because I cursed at my mom (didn’t know what I was saying, I was like 7). I told dad when he got home and he was so mad. Husbands parents would put pepper on the tongue if the kids mouthed off.

    It’s not “right” but at the same time, I’ve never considered it a particularly scaring part of my childhood. Unfortunately, both sets of parents came from a generation where when they were bad as kids, they’d get the strap. Father in law would get smacked with rulers in school all the time. I’ll give them credit for at least choosing a less violent form of punishment, and for the most part I got time outs.

    It’s a tough balancing act being a parent. I really admire the people that get that whole thing right. I’m terrified to be a mother at some point, because I’m worried I’ll end up being ‘the bad guy’ or that I’ll be too strict, or too lax. It’s scary. I guess, if you’re being consistent, and have expectations on behavior, focus on talking, and not scare tactics, it’s a good start. I guess mine must have done an okay job, soap and yelling aside, because overall, we were good kids. The worst thing with me was that I had a tendency to mouth off. Didn’t sneak out, didn’t purposely break rules, and it wasn’t fear based. It mostly just wasn’t worth the trouble, and I could usually get a decent amount of leeway if I did something to earn what I wanted.

    • Abbicci says:

      Erinn, you knew why your Mom put soap on your tongue. Or why your Dad would have put pepper on your tongue. I got the bar or soap twice. I know exactly why I got the bar of soap.

      Jamie wasn’t punishing his daughter, he was getting even. She went to him for food and he snuck in something to hurt her. No explanation, no learning moment. Just him hurting her and laughing about it.

      Just gross.

      I empathize with parents trying to discipline their kids. It has to be hard, you are trying to do the best you can with the tools you have and every judgey Mommy blogger is telling you that you are doing it wrong. In the future if you start worrying about it remind yourself that thinking about it and trying to figure out how you can be a better parents means you are doing it right. It’s a learn on the job situation, If your child is thriving, you’re doing it right.

      • Erinn says:

        And I think that’s a huge issue with the Jamie thing. In terms of dog training (since i don’t have kids) you can’t get mad at the dog after the fact. You can’t try to discipline a dog a half hour after they’ve done something wrong. It doesn’t make sense. I can only assume it’s somewhat the same for a kid – you’re not linking the punishment with the act. You just have someone getting revenge on you.

        Now, had this been a story about him having been pranking back and forth with his daughter, and had he just put a bit of a mildly spicy pepper on her apple – it could have been a cute anecdote. But it was petty of him to do this.

      • AntiSocialButterfly says:

        You are entirely correct about him being vengeful rather than disciplinary.
        He is a human turd.

        All three of my kids have told me that my telling them I am disappointed by something they have done hurts far more than any sanctions- taking devices, assigning extra chores, enforced apology note writing, etc. Yikes. Who knew?

        I repeat, he is a turd of a person.

      • L says:

        Exactly. My mom did the thing where I had to hold a tablespoon of salt in my mouth for a minute before I could spit it out. But I knew exactly WHY it happened, it was a punishment that occurred right afterwards, and it wasn’t just to ‘get even’ (I had sworn alot at my brother right before and made him cry)

        The whole ‘she thought I forgot’ and then doing it makes it seem like revenge. That’s not discipline-that’s awful.

      • Pandy says:

        Ah, I don’t think he did anything that wrong. He didn’t make her eat the pepper, he just made sure she got some heat. And she’s not a toddler (or dog) who won’t remember what she did 30 minutes before. I’m sure there was a conversation following the pepper revelation about what she did and what he did back at her. We are just getting the blurb he’s telling to be “funny”. PS I have had curries made with scotch bonnets and if she just had a rub, she’s not going to die from the heat.

    • Yeah, my mom used to worry about discipline–she spanked us when we were younger. My cousins called it child abuse (because they had a mother that let them do whatever they wanted, all she’d do was bitch for two minutes, and then ignore it), but what my mother went through was child abuse–to the point of having bruises and cuts for days afterwards. Whenever we were spanked as children, she never left a mark on us. I mean, our butts would be pink, and it’d hurt for a few seconds afterwards, but nothing more than that.

    • Also–your post made me think about the first time I learned the word ‘bitch’…haha. I was like four or five. I heard it, probably from my mom cause she curses like a sailor STILL, and repeated it to my twin, who repeated it to both of our parents. and they FREAKED. I don’t know why, because they both cursed A LOT. But my mom was freaking out, saying “Do you know what a bitch is? A bitch is a female dog!”–as I think back, I’m laughing because she literally took the time to explain to us what a bitch was….haha.

  13. OriginalTessa says:

    People are so uptight. It’s a prank. It’s funny. I’m sure Poppy is fine, and will think twice before lipping off to her dad. Who knows what he’ll put in her bolognese.

    • **sighs** says:

      That’s not even remotely funny. I can’t even handle regular peppers, I can’t even imagine the spiciest peppers alive. Maybe we should put her hands on a moderately warm stove? That’ll teach her.

      • Sam says:

        They, truthfully, are not that spicy, partciularly if you are not ingesting the seeds. Scotch Bonnets are part of Caribbean cuisine and usually appear in jerk seasonings and curries. I think the punishment was pretty stupid (since it didn’t actually address what the issues were) but people seem to be confused about what Scotch Bonnets actually are. Now, if the child has a known reaction to spicy food and he exploited that to try to hurt her, that is different. However, I don’t think that is being suggested here.

      • **sighs** says:

        It’s different when you are actively participating in trying something spicy.

      • Sam says:

        My point wasn’t that he didn’t use deception. My point was that this “hottest pepper on Earth” thing is ridiculous. Millions of people consume them routinely (and yes, even kids). He did not use the seeds, which would dramatically cut down on the heat. And he did not even deceive her into eating the actual pepper itself – he rubbed the cut pepper onto apple slices, so she was really just ingesting the juice.

        Introducing kids to spicy foods isn’t per se wrong. My husband starting introducing our daughter to Muhammara – a very spicy pepper dip and sauce – when she was a baby, tiny bit by bit. I don’t consider that abusive. I can think Jamie Oliver is stupid for his tactics without thinking it’s analagous to holding somebody’s hand over a stove, for example.

      • FLORC says:

        My rule.
        If you have to wear gloves or take any special precautions with the item I need warning before I ingest it. I need to be able to make that call myself. Otherwise it’s not a prank. It’s not punishment. It’s just being a (for lack of a more appropriate word) Jerk.

        I never liked this man. Add this to the pile of reasons.

    • elo says:

      I thought the same thing, I didn’t think this was that big of a deal either. I would never do it to my kid but I had similar things done to me as I kid, I thought they were funny then and I think they are funny looking back.

    • FingerBinge other ways to er says:

      I don’t think people are being uptight. There are other ways to discipline a 12yr old.

    • captain hero says:

      Agree originaltessa, she’ll be fine. I don’t think it qualifies as abuse. Maybe poppy will get her own apples from now on!

    • Jag says:

      So now she should be wary of what food her own father gives her to eat? I don’t think that’s funny at all. Depending upon the child, this could’ve broken trust and could’ve put her in the hospital. I can’t tolerate the spicy peppers at Subway, which aren’t even as hot as jalapenos, so having a much hotter pepper juice like that on my apple might’ve put me in the hospital. (My mother was the same way.) He’s lucky that she didn’t have a bad reaction.

      And as others are saying, how does he know that she associates the hot apple with mouthing off at her father a while before being given it?

      • captain hero says:

        Jag, she’s 12, not a toddler or a dog. She can understand the correlation between her behaviour and Jamie’s prank. It’s not the most ideal punishment but it’s not child abuse. Saying that it is, or that she can never trust her father again is ridiculously dramatic and over the top.

      • Bill Hicks is God says:

        I get what Jag is saying and she’s right about the food wariness thing.

        She made no mention of child abuse Captain Hero so that’s a leap on your part.

    • Sofia says:

      It seems really weird to me that a family prank has a reminder of bad behavior can be considered child abuse like many have said. I wonder how “by the book” people really raise their kids. And he obviously made a joke out of it by exaggerating about how spicy that was to have a story to tell. And kids are not precious snowflakes! And no one knows if he didn’t have a talk with her afterwards, we just know the prank.

      • captain hero says:

        You’re right, I’ve reviewed the comments and jag is not one of the many people saying this is child abuse. I apologise and accept my mistake. Now will you please stop using Bill Hicks’ name in vain

  14. Heather says:

    Wow! That seems like a recipe for an unhealthy relationship with food. Just the gift every girl needs from her dad.

  15. Gingercrunch says:

    I’ve recently learned a lot about trauma and its effects. It can be defined as anything less than nurturing. Prolly applies in this case, I’m thinking.

  16. **sighs** says:

    That’s just teaching your kids to fear whatever food you’re giving them. Fear based punishment is not healthy. Take away her phone or ipad. I’m sure that works with most 12 year olds. Make her do extra chores. There are so many other options.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree – I don’t have kids, but this doesn’t seem to be a very productive method of discipline, and I could see it causing more problems than he was trying to solve.

  17. Sam says:

    I’m torn. On one hand, this slightly reminds me on some level of “hot saucing” which is when a parent forces some kind of hot sauce into a child’s mouth – which is pretty clearly abusive. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like the daughter was really harmed. Scotch Bonnets are pretty common in some varieties of cooking – especially in Caribbean cuisine. They rarely eat them, but they like to score them and drop them in pots to get a hit of spice, and then the pull them out at the end. It may be super spicy, but they aren’t so spicy as to cause real suffering, most of the time.

    My problem with this is that it’s really not effective. What has she learned from this? Discipline should be tied to the behavior and the child needs to understand WHY discipline is being done. This comes off far more as a juvenile, stupid prank. Bedhead is right – Jamie should watch out for some spiked coffee from now on. Tit-for-tat.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Yeah, I think punishment should be clear and related as far as possible to the “crime.” This was deceitful, immature and mean. What a dumbass.

  18. Mzizkrizten says:

    Reminds me of my mother’s favorite way to combat my smart mouth, tobasco on my tongue.

  19. Other Kitty says:

    Wow, so many Judgey McJudgersons here! We now have a generation of completely undisciplined, entitles children who don’t respect anyone, let alone their parents—because parents are not allowed to discipline as they see fit. This is NOT child abuse, give me a break. You all are so quick to judge.

    • lassie says:

      As a teacher in a high school, I am with you, Other Kitty.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I see so many comments on here from teachers applauding ridiculous, ineffective and even cruel forms of punishment for children because society has failed to let parents “discipline the way they see fit.” No wonder our schools are some of the worst in the world. Child abuse is rampant in this country and they two of you are high fiving because kids should all have their mouths burned by their father or be whipped with a belt or whatever someone sees as a “fit” punishment. It makes me sick.

    • Abbicci says:

      I’d agree with you if he was actually punishing his child. If he put pepper sauce on her tongue for talking back to him I wouldn’t have an issue. He didn’t use it as a teaching moment. He snuck hot pepper into her food not as punishment but to get even with her for behaving like a tween.

      I think the bigger question is why a child between 10 -12 can’t get her own apple.

    • Gine says:

      The reason we have a generation of entitled children is that modern parents pull childish, vindictive crap like this (not to mention parking their kids in front of screens all day and giving them whatever they want so they don’t have to deal with them) instead of actually PARENTING their children. He even said that his parents would have scolded him, but he “couldn’t do that anymore”–why not? What, are the Parent Police going to come and issue a fine? He couldn’t handle disciplining his daughter, so he resorted to petty revenge.

      Lots of parents are disadvantaged and overworked, and I have sympathy for them when their kids act out, but he has no excuse. I see so many parents alternately spoil and neglect their kids for their own convenience, and are then somehow completely surprised when the kids have no respect for them when they get older.

  20. Jess says:

    I saw a mother use Tabasco as discipline once, her 2 year old wouldn’t sit still at a restaurant and she shoved it in his mouth, I thought it was pretty extreme, but to each their own I guess.

    • Ag says:

      it’s insane to me that someone would expect a 2-year old to sit still at a restaurant. 2-year olds don’t sit still. at least not any that i’ve seen. you learn to adjust to it – you either don’t go to restaurants for a while, or you take turns eating with your significant other (or whoever). parents’ unwillingness to adjust and inflexibility astounds me.

      • **sighs** says:

        Right? “Back in the day” people didn’t take their 2 year olds to restaurants. They don’t have the attention span to sit for an hour for a meal. A 2 year old also doesn’t have the reasoning capacity to understand that their parent is burning their mouth because they won’t sit still.

      • Jag says:

        Exactly **sighs** and Ag.

      • Jess says:

        I agree! Most 2 year olds are just learning to speak in full sentences, still shit*ing themselves in diapers, and can’t even get dressed on their own, so why people expect them to be perfectly behaved in public is beyond me. They have to learn and it takes time and patience, not hot sauce, in my opinion!

  21. PrincessMe says:

    Maybe I don’t think “CHILD ABUSE” because I’m Jamaican and Scotch Bonnet is a (big) part of our diet. I’ve given my baby (14 months) food with scotch bonnet in it, but I just have to be careful not to put too much in or not to give her meat (Jerk pork, for example) with it directly on the outer part. She’s fine with it.

    I think it was a stupid thing to do for sure (since it probably not a part of her usual diet), but not child abuse (IMHO). Maybe if it was an infant and done in the same manner, but not a 12 year old. But yeah, he shouldn’t be doing that as “punishment”.

  22. Ag says:

    jesus. this is just wrong. it’s not “to each is own,” it’s a human being, FFS. what does it “teach” the child? only to hate the parent and have food issues.

  23. Delta Juliet says:

    I don’t think it’s abuse, it just seems like a rather ineffective way to punish someone. I can see it leading to not trusting your dad when he gives you food, but not so much as a deterrent for talking back.

    It’s not easy. My son is 12 and sometimes taking things away from him works, and other times he looks at me and says “Whatever. I don’t care”. No one ever said raising kids would be a piece of cake.

  24. manjit says:

    Overreaction much???? Go on Jamie! I’m with him all the way. As he said at the BBC Good Food Show, what can you do when beating your kids isn’t popular anymore? Set their taste buds on fire, that’s what.

    • **sighs** says:

      You’re burning them without their knowledge. It’s the same as spanking. You’re inflicting physical pain as punishment. You’re teaching them to fear you, not respect you.

      • Sam says:

        Except the daughter never said she was in pain. Spicy food does not, de facto, cause pain. The kid reacted in a way that indicated that the taste of the peppery apples turned her off, but nothing in the story indicates that she was in pain or suffering from it. You can oppose what he did without reading into it so much.

      • Jag says:

        Sam, spicy food might not cause you pain, but it does cause me pain. Physical pain in my mouth and then another type of pain when my lungs lock up and I can’t breathe. It’s possible she’s like you and has a high tolerance for spicy foods, but not everyone does. It’s true that he makes it seem that she wasn’t that distressed, but we don’t know if she had tears streaming down her face as she begged her mother to help her or not because he was too busy laughing at pranking his child to notice.

      • **sighs** says:

        Exactly, jag. I physically cannot handle spicy things. And like he would have told the world that she was streaming tears at his joke. You’re only getting his side of the story. Even his own wife said, don’t you ever do that again, so I highly doubt she was merely making a funny face.

      • anon33 says:

        Exactly. Sam is all over this thread saying Scotch Bonnets aren’t all that spicy..well maybe not to you! Everyone’s reaction to spicy foods is different. You can’t just say that because some cultures use it means that everyone could or should be able to tolerate it. That’s ridiculous. And I’m a foodie of over 20 years so I know what I’m talking about. Some cultures also eat all different kinds of bugs, but that doesn’t mean I would be ok if someone fed me a bug as a joke.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      And you’re teaching them what by that? How to be an asshole? How to respond to stress by acting like a four year old? How to retaliate instead of teach? He’s the PARENT. I can’t believe you people.

  25. megan says:

    I suspect confiscating her iphone for 24 hours would have been considerably more effective. Tweens need to text.

  26. nicegirl says:

    I am COMPLETELY and TOTALLY AGAINST CHILD ABUSE, in all forms – and this sure seems like abusive behavior to me. Proper discipline is not sneaky or vindictive, it is educational.

  27. AntiSocialButterfly says:

    I wonder if he would have still chosen to do it if he had presented her with the peppered apple and said, “Now Poppy, you were sassy to me and that is wrong. As punishment you must eat this apple that I have rubbed with a hot pepper. Do it and no arguments” , then enforcing the punishment. Not bloody likely, I think. He very simply enjoyed having one over one her at her expense. Nice Dad, reeeeeeally nice. I’d bet she will always remember that he did this to her, and feel hurt by it even as an adult.

  28. Mean Hannah says:

    This sounds to me like it was a stupid prank, something I’m not sure a parent should engage in with a 12 yr old. It wasn’t to discipline her – it was to “punish” her for being disrespectful and tease her a bit for it. Just like his wife, I would not approve of this method, but it is NOT child abuse! I think those heat index numbers comparing SB pepper to jalapeño pepper is throwing everyone off, but if you’ve eaten spicy food or tried food with different kinds of peppers, they are hot, but not unbearable. My son is 3 and he eats kimchi. Indian and Thai curry are some of his favorite foods, as well as Jamaican jerk chicken wings.

    • Jag says:

      Everyone has different tolerances for spicy and hot foods. I can’t eat curry, for instance. Even the mildest of mild at my brother’s favorite Indian restaurant was too much for me. I can’t tolerate Texas Pete, jalapenos, or even the hot peppers at Subway. I don’t think he abused her, but as you said, it wasn’t teaching her anything. I think it may put her off accepting food from him, unless she’s much more trusting than I.

    • Cirien says:

      Except we don’t know if he had given her spicy food before. Seeing who he is it’s entirely possible he might have but if she hasn’t had spicy food and he gave it to her as punishment, then it’s problematic.

      • Esmom says:

        Presumably he hadn’t given it to her before since he says he did it to teach her a lesson — he must have known it would cause a reaction. Awful.

      • Cirien says:

        The reaction of her mother is telling too….she didn’t think it was funny, and I doubt she would say that if she though it was a) a good discipline tool and b) warrented.

  29. Lucky Charm says:

    My mom would put hot sauce in our mouths if we talked back. A couple of times she rinsed my mouth out with soap. The only lesson I learned from getting spanked with the belt was “do NOT pick out the narrow one” since smaller definitely doesn’t mean it hurts less. But never for one minute did we think we were being abused, and we are all happy, healthy well adjusted adults.

  30. FLORC says:

    Yea. Let’s start helping our kids to associate trusting their parents with unexpected and extreme pain. That sounds like a plan. And let’s add in food equals pain so they avoid eating or it will cause extreme anxiety. He can really teach a thing or 2 about great parenting!

    I cannot stand this fool.

    • Denise says:

      Good point about the food=pain association. And a healthy food at that! And this is the guy promoting healthy eating here and in the US.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Right? Let’s not discuss what they did wrong or try to teach them, let’s just retaliate against them like a four year old. Maybe next time he can put a tack on her chair so she sits on it. Way to develop trust and respect. Ugh.

      • Esmom says:

        I know. Appalling. Ugh is right.

      • FLORC says:

        Very true GNAT. I didn’t fully think of that. Punishments need to be immediate or in a way so the child knows that behavior is wrong and why. What he did took plotting and a sick sense of humor/parenting. That he shared this information with us shows a lack of understanding why what he did is not ok or funny.

        Is he still? I thought shortly after his show was cancelled he gained weight and was caught partying with escorts or something on a book tour. Could be wrong.
        He lacks a likable quality. You can be smart and want to change things for the better, but if you’re doing that through being a public persona you need to be likable for anyone to listen.

  31. Denise says:

    Come on, Jamie. You know you have as many detractors as you do fans, and you go and tell this story, which I hope isn’t true. If it is, you have issues you need to sort ASAP. And since when is a telling off not allowed? I think we’re allowed to have words with our children. Hmmm….telling off wrong, torturing your child for your own amusement…A OK!

  32. Gilian says:

    Wow. Child abuse? Really? A few of you need to relax and sit down. He rubbed a pepper on an apple to teach her a lesson in respect and watching her mouth. He didn’t take a switch to her. He didn’t shove her down a flight of stairs. I normally don’t comment too much on here but the comments posted with respect to this made me laugh out loud at work. Have you ever had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of a 12 year old girl’s snotty wit and complete disregard for her parental unit(s)? I applaud him for go about it in the way that he did as opposed to flicking apples at her head as punishment instead. Perspective people. Use it for being sensible. *sheesh*

    • Denise says:

      It’s ok because he didn’t push her down a flight of stairs? Is that the only alternative? Imagine as a 12 year old girl – yes you also had an attitude back then – that you have a bad moment and this is how your father deals with it? Put yourself in the girl’s shoes for just a second. I don’t think he should be hauled off to jail, but clearly this is wrong. Flicking apples at her head? Odd comparison, and not sure how that would be any worse. In fact, he tricked her and that is quite sinister.

      • Gilian says:

        You’re perspective on this is mental. It’s pepper on an apple. Seriously. It’s not an odd comparison. It’s meant to illuminate how completely bizarre the over-reaction is to this event. “Sinister” is a very odd choice of words, in my opinion, but keeping with the other strange comments on here.

      • md1979 says:

        Totally agree with Gilian. IMHO calling this child abuse is really trivializing all the kids who truly do experience child abuse. Putting a snotty 12 year old in her place isn’t child abuse. I’d equate what Jamie did with a practical joke. How many times as a tween did I do stuff like this to my parents and grandparents? Cling wrap on their toilet seats, kool aid in the showerhead, etc. I once served my grandmother an ice-cream dish completely loaded with salt at a dinner party… for no reason whatsoever. Guess I’m going to jail for “elder abuse”…. Sheesh.

      • Sofia says:

        The problem is that many people here are overreacting like he did one of those really harmful violent things. If I didn’t know what it was, by just reading your comments I would believe he did something criminal!

      • FLORC says:

        I doubt she learned the lesson by that punishment. I’m betting more that she’s learned to fear the wrath of her father. It won’t be immediate. It will be when she doesn’t expect it. That could lead to her 2nd guessing any move she makes out of fear her father will do something like that again. I don’t think this is an unlikely outsome either. He’s a trusted figure to her. A protector. This is a form of child abuse. Not as severe as breaking bones, but still a form. And the emotional scars are often deeper than physical.

        At the end of this he still thinks it’s funny enough to share. That is textbook Sadistic.

      • Sofia says:

        FLORC, I don’t like to ignore that other may feel differently from me and that doesn’t make me right or wrong but your comment is over the top dramatic considering he didn’t say anything that can lead us to believe he does not protect her or is supportive. We don’t have a context, we have him telling about a prank he did to his daughter. He must know her better than us and how far he could go to make a point with humour (we don’t have agree about what’s funny or not and we have no idea about what the family finds funny). From what you wrote I could come to the conclusion that any prank can potentially be traumatizing and I would agree with that if you pranked people without knowing their boundaries or them at all. This is not the case.

    • Francesca says:

      Agreed. It was a jokey way to get her attention. Immature? Absolutely. Effective? Who knows. Abusive…. Wtf!

  33. LadyMazurus says:

    The reaction to this story is so ridiculously over the top it makes the Angeloonies look sane.

    Jamie Oliver is not a child abuser. He didn’t force her to eat an entire scotch bonnet pepper – he rubbed it on an apple slice. He didn’t force her to eat the entire apple slice. She tasted it in a totally safe and comfortable home environment and then commented about how it tasted “peppery”. She did not cry, she did not have any permanenet damage or a burnt mouth; she is 12 years old, not 12 months old. He does not make her ingest scotch bonnet peppers every time she misbehaves.

    As others have commented, Scotch Bonnett peppers aren’t even that hot and certainly not when just wiped on something and deseeded. Jamie played a prank on his daughter. Yes he did it because she was badly behaved, but parents do things like this all the time – you don’t always pick exactly the right disciplinary process out of the “perfect parenting guide”, sometimes you just want to cause a reaction in your kids that makes them think twice. There is nothing in this story to suggest the prank is going to affect Poppy’s relationship with her father, her ability to trust or her issues with food. Get a grip people!

  34. JenniferJustice says:

    The only thing a child learns from this type of parental action is mistrust. If/when his daughter has trust-issues in the future, he can thank himself.

  35. word says:

    He’s going to make his daughter afraid to eat food by doing stupid things like that. Never use food as a punishment or reward. This is how unhealthy eating habits form.

  36. Marianne says:

    Thats still as cruel as spanking your child. Ground the kid, take away their privileges or whatever, but rub some extremely hot peppers on their snack without them even knowing whats coming to them? That’s mean.

  37. Seapharris7 says:

    This isn’t the best type of punishnent. Google Hannah Overton.

  38. joe spider says:

    Bit of luck he will be getting a visit from the police any time now.

  39. CC says:

    What happened to the tried-and-tested punishment methods of taking away the cellphone, allowance, no TV, no computer unless required for school (yea that would mean supervising homework) and the works?

  40. Jane says:

    I don’t know why he is serving an apple to a 12 year old anyway. If he wanted to make a point about her disrespect he should have told her to get her own apple, that he had no desire to be accommodating to a kid who disrespects him.

  41. aenflex says:

    Oh please. My mother and grandparents rinsed my mouth with Ivory. A lot. Or paddled me, in front of friends/family. I was a prat and deserved it. I am not scarred; I’d like to think I’m a better person for it, though at the time it was humiliating.
    I don’t see the big deal here. Alarmism.
    Maybe, just maybe, all of these reactive, shocked, finger-pointing opinions are the reason children and teens of this generation are such assholes?

    • fille says:

      I don’t think a person who has been taught to condone abusive behaviour through their own exposure to it is a better person for it. If you don’t think that it would have been acceptable for your mother and grandparents to have hit another adult or rinsed another adult’s mouth out with something unpleasant because the adult did something they didn’t approve of, you ought to understand why it was at least equally unacceptable that they did so to a child.

  42. Bill Hicks is God says:

    “In my day I would have got a bit of a telling-off but you are not allowed to do that. ”

    Well in anyone didn’t think he was already full of it, this should remove all doubt.

    To sneak anything into anyone’s food is a deplorable thing to do. It’s still “spiking.”

    What he did isn’t discipline, it’s a stupid (and potentially dangerous – Scotch Bonnets are extremely hot, they can make a person’s throat close for one) prank that is a window into his mental age.

  43. Carrie says:

    People are being way too uptight about this.

    • Bill Hicks is God says:

      Funny, that’s what I think when a child is behaving badly and gets a smack on the rear and people whip out their phone ready to call the police.

      • Carrie says:

        People are way too quick to scream ABUSE now, and it does trivialize real honest to God child abuse. I don’t know how many comments I found myself rolling my eyes at in this thread. There is a big difference between say, a spanking and beating. To me a spank is what it was when I was a kid. One or two quick swats on the butt. Beating is when the belt, switch comes out etc. I got spanked, am I emotionally stunted or some of the other lame crap people will come up with now? No. Besides that, the kid is 12. I’m sure she knew why it happened and if she didn’t I’m sure she was told immediately. In my opinion, this is not a huge deal. A spanking isn’t a huge deal, people are just way too sensitive now.

  44. scout says:

    Immature A$$, that Jamie. Years ago I tried to chop Scotch Bonnet peppers to try for the first time to make Jerk Chicken. Believe me, my fingers were burning for few hrs after that. Never bought those peppers again and I can’t imagine that girl eating it while her dad thinks it’s funny. Hope his wife “took care” of him.

  45. Mhjmc says:

    My (adopted) girls were given this as a punishment as well (from their bio grandparents) only they were 3!!! I don’t agree with this at all!! There are better ways to discipline your child. Someone should put them in his mouth!!!

  46. msw says:

    That is a cruel, horrible thing to do. Not the least of which, be a grownup and find a punishment that doesn’t involve pain. I think that would put a kid off spicy food for life.

  47. Anon says:

    A lot of you guys are completely insane. It was a prank! If my dad had done this to me when I was 12, my whole family and I would have laughed about it! One time my dad made chili and told me he used hamburger in it. I took a bite and knew it wasn’t hamburger. It was deer meat, which he knew I would never have eaten had I known. I wasn’t deeply traumatized because my dad lied about what I was eating. I laughed and threw it away!

    • mj says:

      Yeah, this^. Not every parent utilizes every opportunity to directly teach their kids a lesson–I mean, when I was in middle school, I can’t even count the number of times I was sassy and talked back. My parents, while certainly not perfect, took these opportunities to discuss respect with me, but also played around. I’m also assuming he knows what her allergies are, considering his profession and training, and took them into account. I personally think this is kind of funny. One time I was being particularly picky about lunch so my father promised he made something delicious. It was a Hershey’s and Kraft cheese sandwich! Awful. I got back at him by splicing an apple and licking every piece, then waiting until he’d consumed half to tell him what I’d done. Yeah, it doesn’t sound as serious as ghost pepper, but if you know someone doesn’t have an allergy and at most it will be an inconvenience, I think it’s fine and part of a family dynamic.

  48. md1979 says:

    All these people screaming “Child Abuse!” need to get some perspective. It’s just as abusive to raise a child with no discipline, without respect and who thinks they can be lippy and rude with no consequences. This might not have been a mature way to discipline a 12 year old, but it certainly is NOT abuse.

  49. weegiewarrior says:

    Im so sick of this guy and his cheeky chappy routine – its worn very thin over th years- hes so full of -it . Ive raised 2 girls to adulthood and yes, u r allowed to tell them off without having to put pepper in their food ? Grounding them always seemed to work best or taking their phones off them.. Come on – what age is th guy? How immature.