British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver’s second season of Food Revolution this time takes on Los Angeles: a city with an obesity problem commensurate with its worldwide reputation.
In the previous season, and in the chef’s popular UK shows, he championed fresh good quality ingredients and attempted to introduce healthier food to the nation, encouraging schools and parents to exchange their low quality, pre-packaged burger and fries mentality for home-made chicken and rice etc.
But in this new series, the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) seems to be a little more resistant to his’mockney’ (mock cockney) down-to-earth, ‘I’m a little chimney Sweep, spare some change guvna’, British charm.
But the food crusader doesn’t acquiesce. He simply waves his cucumber hatchet above his head, emits a plaintive war cry of ‘pukka’, (the hindi word for ‘genuine’ he famously overused in his British shows) and persists. It is the challenges he faces that make for an interesting show.
“The same challenges are everywhere,” he said during a telephone conference to promote the new season, referring to the western world’s reliance on, and addiction to, cheap, processed, high in salt, fat and sugar, low in quality, over-cooked foods; and after he reaches an impasse with the LA school board, in the very first episode.
“I never really expected to be banned from every single school in the district,” Oliver confessed. “My goal is not to fight with the LAUSD,” he said, after a struggle of several months with the LAUSD that banned his team from filming in school cafeterias in LA.
However, according to the LAUSD, they have apparently extended an invitation to the chef, allowing him to help them with a new menu that meets all the nutritional requirements established by the government, but they still have not granted him permission to film within the schools.
I’d be more than a little concerned if I was a parent in LA. And not only because it would have had to have been an immaculate conception. When it comes to our kids and their nutritional needs, especially after the recent ban on home-made packed lunches in a school in Chicago, a little transparency would go a long way. Refusing cameras just smacks of having something to hide and that’s a worry. What is in the food they are feeding the little Angelenos?
And what does the government recommend in their nutritional requirements anyway? An archaic food pyramid consisting of too many grains, dairy and meat, perchance? And at 77 cents per meal what kind of quality meat are they feeding these kids? (Not to mention the conditions those animals lived and the methods used to breed and process them once put out of their misery.)
Nutritional consultant Kate Adamick, from the organization Cook for America educates cafeteria staff in preparing budget-conscious healthy food, reports that she has never been approached by the district to assist with menu preparation for their schools.
The Jamie Oliver Foundation is also working with the California Endowment and the American Heart Association to educate the inhabitants of some of LA’s poorer neighborhoods in the ways of healthy and nutritious eating. A step away from the multitude of fast food joints that currently inhabit the area.
With filming of the final episodes still to go, no doubt after much formulaic wrangling and tussling this way and that between Oliver and the LAUSD, there will finally be a breakthrough. Let’s face it, if the LAUSD were immediately compliant, welcoming the Brit into its district school kitchens, there would be nothing much to watch other than some rather bored ladies in highly flammable overalls mashing potato in a large rating.
Not very Hollywood is it?
Please share your thoughts on Jamie Oliver’s Hollywood bow by leaving a ‘pukka’ comment.
Read about Jamie promoting healthy eating; Gabriel Cousens MD and his cure for diabetes; the continual increase in obesity cases worldwide; how raw veganism can combat cancer and getting healthy with a juice fast.
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Tags: diet obesity