(File photo) A braai at Zoo Lake. Picture: Puleng Nguxe

London - Standing over the charcoals with tongs in one hand and beer in the other has long been seen as a man’s domain.

But according to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the true masters of the barbecue are women.

Contrary to generations of received wisdom, the 39-year-old said female chefs in his London steak house are much better at managing open flames.

Men, meanwhile, panic if they cannot control the heat with 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.’

Billed as ‘Britain’s first ever barbecue steak house’, Barbecoa opened near St Paul’s in London in 2010.

The menu features beef tartare, crispy pig cheeks, and seven different steak options.

Last month, hygiene officers forced Oliver to shut down for 24 hours the Barbecoa butchers, which is underneath the restaurant, after they found mouse droppings, mouldy carcasses and out-of-date wagyu beef.

In recent years, Oliver – who shot to fame on the BBC in the 1990s as the Naked Chef - has concentrated on putting cookery videos on his YouTube channel, called Food Tube, rather than making shows for TV.

He said: ‘I think Food Tube is the big one for me. 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.’ - Daily Mail