Jamie Oliver thinks it was an “honour” to live in a pub at Christmas.

The 47-year-old chef has fond memories of being raised in the Essex bar and didn’t mind his parents having to work on 25 December because all the people who frequented their establishment became like family to him.

He said “It was full of festivities – decorations everywhere – very jolly, very loud.

“It was a gift, an honour, to live in a pub.

“On Christmas Day we’d be up early to do all the pressies, but we’d be open for business from 10am.

“All the locals were like extended aunts and uncles – I was brought up by 30 women.”

Jamie – who has children Poppy, 20, Daisy, 19, Petal, 13, Buddy, 12, and River, six, with wife Jools – is “baffled” as to why young people don’t want to work in kitchens because he had such a great time honing his craft.

He told Radio Times magazine: “I was good at cooking – not because I was born to do it or a genius but because I just did it again and again.

“I had a terrible time academically at school but I loved working at the weekend – learning to graft, learning to be tired, learning to earn a pound.

“I was blessed to work with seven chefs on a shift who all taught me how to do things and would whup me if I didn’t do them right.

“It baffles me why British kids and people don’t want to work in kitchens. There’s a real happiness to be had.”