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Jamie Oliver has said that, unlike women, men cannot take the heat when it comes to playing with fire in the kitchen.

Contrary to the view held by many men that they are the masters of the barbecue, the broadcaster and culinary guru said women appear to have much more control.

He said that from his experience with his restaurant Barbecoa – which uses fire-pits, smokers and other roaring flames – his female chefs reign supreme.

Jamie said that men appear to struggle when they do not have the facility to operate the flames at the flick of a switch.

He said: “Actually some of the best barbecuers are women. When we opened Barbecoa, it was the first restaurant in London that didn’t have gas or electric and for the first month, we just lost 20 male chefs and all that were left largely were women because they were a lot more sensitive to managing fire.

“The men freaked out because there wasn’t a nozzle to turn.”

The star, who opened the restaurant close to St Paul’s Cathedral, also talked about cutting back on his heavy workload in the coming decade and putting his efforts into his online food channel.

“I think Food Tube is the big one for me,” said the cook.

“If anything, I’m doing less in the next 10 years than I have been doing. I’ve had my very experimental five years and I’ve learned lots from it. I’ve tried and tested lots of tiny things that were invisibly hidden in parts of other businesses and most of it has worked and a handful have failed and that’s what it’s all about.”