'Food Revolution' recap: Jamie Oliver says 'it's war'
In Episode 2 of the activist chef’s “Food Revolution,” Tuesday nights on ABC, he returns to the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District to plead his case for entree into a school cafeteria and “to build any bridges.”
But there’s no welcome mat out, and without “a glimmer of hope” from the people who run the nation’s second-largest school system, Oliver says, “It’s war.”
And for him the first battle has him dressing up in a tomato costume, gathering school-lunch activists such as Lisa Fontanesi and Jennie Cook and heading to a school to talk to families outside and give away healthy bag lunches, T-shirts and fliers asking parents to contact school-board member Yolie Flores.
Oliver cleverly makes himself out to be pretty harmless -- a guy dressed up like a tomato with a little red cap? And he says all he wants is to take a look at what’s on the lunch line. A parent volunteer dressed as a strawberry and identified as Frances tells him the schools are “training” children to eat fast food.
Oliver says dressing as a tomato won't accomplish the change he seeks, but what might help, he notes, are the hundreds of emails that have gone to the board from parents.
And one high school, West Adams Preparatory School, which operates in partnership with the LAUSD, welcomes Oliver -- but he’s banned from the cafeteria. Instead, he gets a toehold in the school’s cooking classes.
And that’s the most affecting part of the episode. One student, Sophia, talks about her sister and parents who have diabetes and her feeling that getting diabetes herself is inevitable. Crying, she tells the camera, she wants Oliver’s help.
Meanwhile, back at Patra’s Charbroiled Burgers, a fast-food eatery where Oliver is trying to reform the menu, he runs into problems with owner Deno Perris, who is trying to protect his business and worries Oliver’s menu items will cost him customers.
Finally, Oliver and Perris decide to add some of Oliver’s burgers to the menu, so Oliver comes up with a “Revolution Burger” and some other combinations using pinto beans, chipotle sauce and other add-ons. To test them, he takes a mobile cart out to the streets of Westwood and cooks for whoever shows up, asking them to pay what they think the food is worth. In that upscale neighborhood, he gets $10, $7. But later, at Patra’s, Oliver’s burgers get raves. What’s not known yet is whether they’ll get a permanent place on the menu.
-- Mary MacVean
Photo: Jamie Oliver. Credit: Associated Press