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August 1, 2015

Jamie Oliver Talks 'Food Revolution' Backlash, Season 2 Shake-Up (VIDEO)

by Maggie Furlong, posted Apr 12th 2011 10:00AM
Jamie Oliver's Food RevolutionChef Jamie Oliver has made it his mission to revolutionize the way Americans eat. Americans, it seems, just aren't that open to change. Shocker.

That resistance made for a tough battle while Oliver was shooting season 2 of his Emmy-winning reality show 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' (premieres Tuesday, April 12, 8PM ET on ABC), in Los Angeles this year.

Long story short, Oliver was determined to shake up L.A. school district cafeterias, but the district banned him (banned!), forcing him to get creative with how to get his message to kids and parents.

And that he did, opening up a demo kitchen to the public, working the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant and cruising around the city in a food truck designed for mobile healthy eating education.

I caught up with Oliver to hear about his struggle, the bigger issue of the public having no control over "public" things and how much fun he had tackling the challenges, shunning the system and working around their ridiculous ban.

What do you say: Would you welcome chef Jamie Oliver into your town to teach you a thing or two? And are you excited for the new season? Sound off in the comments.

Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl

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I want Jamie Oliver back on the air. I have been unavailable during the past month to watch his shows - and was very disappointed tonight to see that he has been replaced with another "Dancing With the Stars" - which I have had enough of! I watched the entire first series and loved it! It spoke of the importance of good nutrition, but also demonstrated human nature in action when faced with change. Jamie Oliver's message is important - stand by him and give him - and us - a chance. Give him time - there is no other like him ! Time is needed for this type of show. It could even become a favorite !!!

May 04 2011 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really agree with what he is trying to do. I'd love for him to do something like this in Omaha, NE. But his section on the fast food... i don't know. I hate to say it, but i agree with the diner owner. You have to sell what people will buy at a price they can afford. I'd love to buy a hamburger made from a cow on so an so's ranch, but when it's $2 just for the meat on the burger, how am I going to feed my family of 5? He does a lot of shock and awe which I truly appreciate, but i don't see any solutions the typical person can use. The biggest drawbacks to "going organic" or "healthy" is #1 price and #2 how? What do I have to do?

April 13 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every little thing in US public schools has to go through red tape and get presented to the school boards and district administrators for approval. The whole process is insidiously (or even overtly) inefficient when the board and administrators only have their own personal agendas at heart.

Trust me; I live it every day. Head, meet brick wall.

April 13 2011 at 11:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


I appreciate your knowledgeable criticism of Jamie Oliver's adventure, but as a person who was born in Great Britain, I am outraged and upset over your claim that our "accent is percieved as that of a lower class" Since when were the British considered a lower class? How dare you be so ignorant

April 13 2011 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand and approve of what Jamie Oliver is trying to do, but he is the wrong point man for such a project in the US. He had a hard enough time making it work within his own culture and country, he's unlikely to have significant success in the US unless he changes his approach.

If you intend to create resistance to an idea, putting a stranger with an unfamiliar accent and vocabulary in front of a typical person is a way to guarantee success. NO ONE likes to be told that their ideas or lifestyle is wrong by an obvious stranger, no matter how polite they might be. When the advice comes from someone whose accent is perceived as that of a lower class, it's even harder, no matter how famous they may be in their own country.

Confrontation by a stranger may be good for TV ratings, but it's a lousy way to try to introduce change.

Jamie's assumption that he can jump into an American school system without understanding American culture, or the rules under which school programs have to function is his biggest handicap to introducing change. His second one is a lack of understanding of basic human nature - no diet program in history has ever been successful if it required radical changes in what people are used to doing and mentally prepared to do again.

Examples: in season 1, Jamie didn't understand that "2 breads" in a meal doesn't mean 2 different types of predominantly carbohydrate foods, but rather 2 standard measured servings. If he or a teammate had read the FDA planning guide, he would have understood that the pizza slices qualify as 2 breads by portion size, not content, and been able to adjust the portion size of rice. Second, school menus are published in advance. Jamie had commented that he could make healthier pizza, but rather than offering a different "flavor" of pizza to kids prepped for pizza, he prepared chicken portions.

Bottom line, you can lead a thirsty horse, but you when clear still water is equally available and what it's accustomed to drinking, you can't make it drink milk. Your belief, that that milk is more nutritious, is irrelevant..

If Jamie is truly interested in succeeding in introducing change to school lunch menus, he'd do better to work with Americans who have been working within the existing system, are accepted within that system, and recognize that changes are needed. This kind of teamwork isn't created through confrontation on camera at the point of delivery with school lunch ladies. These hardworking people, most of their supervisors, and most of the school administrators know virtually nothing about nutrition. If they did, the problem wouldn't exist. Finding the right inside people is the key to successfully gaining the allies to build a program rather than staging an event.

I personally think it's a shame that schools feed the kind of crap they do to children, and because of their ignorance, think that they are doing a good job as they condition kids to believe crap is good food

April 12 2011 at 1:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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