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Jamie Oliver shows off kitchen for his 'Food Revolution'


Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, trying to marshal parent support to get his "Food Revolution" into public school cafeterias, showed off a Westwood kitchen that will be the site for cooking classes and scenes in the second season of his reality TV series.

Oliver has invited parents to the kitchen (1038 Westwood Blvd.) at noon Thursday for a "part rally, part meeting" to talk about how to lobby Los Angeles Unified School District to reverse its decision that he cannot use cafeterias for the series.

Whether he succeeds or not, Oliver said, his job is to "facilitate proper activism and not just in Los Angeles." With his scruffy hair, untucked blue plaid shirt, green Converse sneakers and everyman approach, Oliver said he is "slightly overwhelmed" by the enormity of the task in L.A.

"I'm one fellow and I'm only human," he said at Wednesday's news conference. "On a good day the best I can do is provoke a thought or an action."

But he's not without resources: He has an Emmy-winning ABC series and cookbooks behind him, and a new prime-time show ahead in the spring. What that series will include remains unclear, he said.

His work, Oliver said, is not a reality television show, it's a campaign. He said he has never before been blocked from a public institution and would be able to go into public schools in his native England.
Many parents are eager for change, he said. The food industry will go along with change, too, if they can make money, he said: "I know it's about the dollar."

If LAUSD, which has 680,000 students, doesn’t alter its decision -– and officials insist it won't –- Oliver said he'll try charter or private schools or another district in the area. He said he isn't yet critical of what's on the lunch line –- he just wants to get in to assess it.

But his position is not unique, he said. "Many people trying to make change in their schools are getting shut out," he said.

The kitchen, not far from UCLA, has several stations with stoves and equipment, an area with potted herbs and vegetables, and an area with screens to connect to his projects in Australia, England and Huntington, W.Va., where the first season of "Food Revolution" was set.

The kitchen is a temporary site, and a permanent one is to be located in the next few months across the street.

Asked why he didn't build a kitchen in South or East Los Angeles, he said it was in part because the kitchen is also a set for his television work. He said he hopes to open kitchens in other neighborhoods and will get a truck on the road in the spring that is being built as a mobile kitchen and classroom. "I expect to spend a lot of time in the truck," he said.

Classes, which Oliver said will be free, could begin soon, even in the temporary kitchen, and in the summer in the permanent kitchen, a spokeswoman said.

His campaign has been funded in part by donations, including $1 million from Chipotle.

His goal, he said, is to get people eating more fresh food and to improve their health. His "Feed Me Better" campaign looked at British school food, and last year ABC's "Food Revolution" won an Emmy for its episodes set in schools and homes in Huntington.

 -- Mary MacVean

Photo of Oliver in "Jamie's Kitchen" in Los Angeles. By ABC/Greg Zabilski

Comments () | Archives (13)

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The President's Cancer Panel in May 2011 reported to him that millions of Americans will have Cancer and the Instutute's of Health have also reported a Nutritional Crisis is present for The Standard American Diet (SAD) and mortality rates are climbing. Our First Lady has taken Action by getting more fresh fruits and vegetables into neighborhoods and extended funding for growing food on school lunch programs.
I consider this a slap in the face to our First Lady. Censorship is dearly guarded by the USA Constitution.....Stand On The Freedom of Speech. Have anyone who stands in your way arrested for violating Your Freedom of Speech Rights.

I went through this process in the late 80's when my son's high school closed down the full kitchen and replaced it with warming ovens to have food shipped from an out of area hospital with "crap food."( This USDA food is stockpiled for 15 years, this is why the attempt to lower sodium is an over all plan so this cheap crap food can be fed to our children.)
We first approached the School Board and when we got a flat "NO." And a very faint, "We don't have to supply lunches for students."
The students gathered signatures and presented a list of grievances and a demonstration, and a sit in, until the students could negoiate an agreement. This had a far reaching effect, especially for the parents that were still upset by the control of elected officals, pulled their children out of the school system and fed them whole foods.....and kept the school taxes for educating and feeding their own children. The Home Schooling Division was born and the school system lost.
Recalls were also staged.....let Grizzley Mamas and determined Fathers take Political Action by in exercising their voting power, locally and State Wide Petitions for new laws to protect the right's of their children.
Censorship at the Federal level to ban wholefoods and food supplements has been ruled "unconstitutional." Free Speech About Science Act 2011, HR 1364

It is truly wonderful to see people like Jamie making healthy eating an issue of importance, particularly for key areas within society. The corporate world is also seemingly taking notice . VictorsFood, a leading cooking team building company in Australia has seen a rise in the uptake of their cooking events by many prominent organisations ( http://www.victorsfood.com.au/food-teambuilding.shtml). Little steps make huge inroads as they say, and the flow on effect is often felt by more than just one. Keep bringing the passion to the table!

I saw your program in New York about the anti-restaurants, I loved but I need more information about it. I will like to do it too, so I need the rules and all the information that you have about it.

Hooray Jamie!!
I read Mary's article and thought wow! this is what parents need to be focused on for their children's health sake. Our children almost never eat breakfast or a nutritious lunch at school. Jamie educating our school cafeterias and parents on how to prepare nutritious food for our children will change their lives!!
I'm a mom and grandma who's son is a chef and I totally understand the value of nutrition...
Thank you for coming to LA Jamie, we needed to be shaken up!

Why would I want my child's education interupted by a reality show? Jamie should go back to London... http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/01/jamie-olivers-food-revolution-shunned.html

I agree all this discipline has to begin very very early in the game. As a health practitioner and wife of a holistic advanced nutrition doc, we are weary of telling parents the what and why for. In the high priced pre-school areas they still insist on giving sugar sugar sugar to the kids. Our parents have to keep admonishing them. What we think is a no brainer is like pulling out wisdom teeth. I may have to disagree with prior posts here that they laud their progressions in the nutrition area of schools. Sorry. Nope. Ask the nutrition people like us who hear it all day long from parents. The cafeteria food not only sucks but it is promoting disease with glutenized, high carb, fried up foods. Thats why kids order pizza for gawds sake for breakfast. I remember back in the 60's our college cafeteria offered everything. But because we were basically still uneducated, we opted for donuts and coffee to get the rush to the next period. I have to continue to get parents to make their kids lunches to bring to school. Jamie you are one of our heroes and vanguards to the truth of eating. Maybe offer gluten free bagels and toast and cereals? We have a sick society that is continuing in the school age category who are uneducated on choices and why. Most of our children patients are allergic to so much, where do I start?

Thanks Jamie! My fans at EasyLunchboxes and I are 110% behind you! We're all talking about in on my FB wall : http://www.facebook.com/EasyLunchboxes

Glad to see things are moving along in LA. I hope there is more support created. I was happy to read the if the LAUSD still says no Jamie's not stopping but going to find another way. I think we should all do our part. If everyone reading would work on cooking some of their own food that would impact the people around us. I hope to help with my blog too. Anything we can do to spread the word that you can eat real food and not spend a ton of money or all day cooking should help the cause. Good luck Jamie and crew!

Hey Jamie:
If you really want to make a positive impact on kids health and school food, you've got to START EARLIER!
Preschools and childcare centers would LOVE to have you come to their schools and work your magic.
Get those kids and their parents loving real food and they will demand it in K-12.
It also makes for lovely TV, toddlers and preschoolers growing and eating food.
Those moms are at a crucial point in their parenting.
You want to inspire them BEFORE K-12 kicks in.
Far less red-tape than a public school system, too.
Let's see a toddler/ pre-school revolution unfold in sunny LA this spring!
Dr.Susan Rubin

When I read $1 Million from Chipotle, and audible "wow" escaped my lips. I must go eat there sometime soon and send them a letter letting them know how much I support their intention. As I was reading through this, I started to think more (and I do believe that is Jamie Oliver's goal) about how I could get my teenage sons to eat fresher and more healthy foods. Usually one son will eat anything that I put in front of him, and the other son will anything that is instantly consumable from a box or a bag (including uncooked ramen noodles).

There is a little plot of dirt outside my kitchen which just beckons for this kind of garden. We would all see it every time we enter or leave our house. I think it is here that the seeds of health will be planted, and hopefully we will harvest another generation of healthy living with strong bodies and alert minds. The thought we all need to embrace is that eating well and living healthy is worth the time and effort required to accomplish this goal.

Best of luck to Jamie; however, let's keep in mind that the food revolution started long ago before he came along. Take a look at some excellent school districts like Ventura USD, Riverside USD, and El Monte CSD, They have been making strides for decades in their nutrition programs. These districts and many others exceed national standards, incorporate farm-to-school programs, institute nutrition education into their core standards, achieve national recognition from the USDA, and, by and large, go unnoticed by the media. Let's hope that the celebrity chef will give kudos to those of us who have striven for excellence in our careers, for our communities, and, most of all, for the children who depend on us each day.

Hurray! I'm so happy to hear Jamie has his sights set on LAUSD. We've been trying to get things changed for a while. Finally, at a new charter school, we have our own lunch options. It has been wonderful to have "white milk" and nutritious options that the kids are actually enjoying! Go Jamie!


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