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'Food Revolution' recap: Season 2 gets underway in L.A.

April 13, 2011 | 10:28 am

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Crusading British chef Jamie Oliver starts off the second season of his “Food Revolution” showing something most residents of Los Angeles know: There’s more than Hollywood glamour here –- much, much more in terms of obesity and fast food.

And in this episode Oliver sets out to improve school food and fast food, getting blocked in both endeavors. But it’s an interesting journey.

Last season, the tension came from Oliver’s relationship with the women who ran the cafeterias in Huntington, W.Va. This year, it’s the administration of the nation’s second-largest school district that becomes his foil when it decides not to let him onto its campuses.

“I make the decision. You will not be in our schools,” Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon Cortines says at one point in the first episode.

So Oliver asks parents to bring what their kids are eating to a kitchen he opened in Westwood for the show. And they show up with chocolate milk, a brownie and other pastries, pizza and a round brown item Oliver holds up and asks, “Does anyone know what this is?”

Overall, he compares the pile of packaged school food on a counter with airplane food.

But that’s the least of that scene: Try going to a burger joint after watching Oliver turn beef trimmings –- which he calls “pink slime” -- into ground beef.

The episode brings in more than schools. Cameras show Oliver, his wife and four children at their rented L.A. home. And Oliver faces only frustration when he tries to persuade the owner of Patra’s Charbroiled Burgers in Glassell Park to change his recipes.

He closes the episode concluding he got the “cold shoulder” from L.A.

Spoiler alert: If you’ve been following the show as it developed in L.A., you know at least some of what’s ahead. But filming isn’t done until late April. And, LAUSD plans a media tour Wednesday to tell its side of what goes into the 650,000 meals it serves daily.

What did you think of the season opener?

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: Jamie Oliver tries to transform Patra's Charbroiled Burgers. Credit: Associated Press

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