Sharing powerful stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, W. Va., TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver makes the case for an all-out assault on our ignorance of food.
Jamie Oliver is transforming the way we feed ourselves, and our children. Jamie Oliver has been drawn to the kitchen since he was a child working in his father’s pub-restaurant. He showed not only a precocious culinary talent but also a passion for creating (and talking about) fresh, honest, delicious food. In the past decade, the shaggy-haired “Naked Chef” of late-’90s BBC2 has built a worldwide media conglomerate of TV shows, books, cookware and magazines, all based on a formula of simple, unpretentious food that invites everyone to get busy in the kitchen. And as much as his cooking is generous, so is his business model — his Fifteen Foundation, for instance, trains young chefs from challenged backgrounds to run four of his restaurants.
Now, Oliver is using his fame and charm to bring attention to the changes that Brits and Americans need to make in their lifestyles and diet. Campaigns such as Jamie’s School Dinner, Ministry of Food and Food Revolution USA combine Olivers culinary tools, cookbooks and television, with serious activism and community organizing — to create change on both the individual and governmental level.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution premieres on Friday, and from the looks of this sneak peek, the British celebrity chef is going to run into some resistance along the way.
Oliver has chosen to revolutionize a Huntington, West Virginia school, which has been called the unhealthiest city in America. Oliver’s biggest challenge is going to be not coming off as condescending as he tries to take away everything they currently eat (i.e. pizza for breakfast) and replace it with healthier options.
In one scene that foreshadows the coming resistance, Oliver appears on a radio talk show and gets flak from the talk show host, who scoffs, “we don’t want to sit around and eat lettuce all day.”
But the ABC show is clearly looking for its punches of drama in the sneak peek, and the tone of this clip noticeably drifts from all-out resistance to some glimmers of acceptance.
Can Oliver really start a genuine transformation, or is it all hype?
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.