Category: Food Revolution

'Food Revolution' recap: Jamie Oliver returns to fight ... the same battles

Jamie603 Jamie Oliver –- bumped aside for “Dancing With the Stars” for a few weeks this spring -- returns to his almost Sisyphean quest to make over fast food and school food in Los Angeles.

In the third episode of his “Food Revolution,” Oliver spends a lot of time at Patra’s Charbroiled Burgers, an old-school drive-through whose owner is reluctant to change the food his customers have bought for decades.

The British celebrity chef offers the owner, Deno Perris, time on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show to pitch his restaurant (Seacrest is Oliver’s producer), as well as “$30, $40,000 of equipment” to spruce up Patra's. All Perris has to do is change the meat he serves to one Oliver wants him to use.

“If we can get him to turn, then maybe others will follow,” Oliver tells the audience.

But it doesn’t look easy: “I have a core of customers. What if they don't want that patty? ... I’m not going to change 33 years of a business for a countertop or a paint job. I’m not going to do that,” Perris tells Oliver. Oliver in turn judges the decision this way: "Deno doesn’t believe his customers deserve better.”

Life is not much easier for Oliver at West Adams Prep. Oliver had been unable to get the Los Angeles Unified School District to give him permission to tackle its cafeteria food in any school. But at West Adams, he was told he could teach the high school students in the culinary classes.

So he gets them to turn out 150 meals of chicken, salad, macaroni and cheese (whole wheat pasta) and fruit –- and plans to offer lunch to the students. But he’s stymied, told he cannot serve food in competition with the cafeteria’s meals.

When he tells the kids he’s been “shut down,” they look sad and defeated. And when he tells a group of parent volunteers what happened, he tears up.

Later in the episode, Oliver is quite impressive in a nutrition class that he makes smart and funny and effective. It’s easy to see why the students like him -- and shocking what they don't know about where their food comes from -- honey from a bear?

In his “Food Revolution,” Oliver is nothing if not persistent. He brings Deno to his Westwood teaching kitchen to meet one of the West Adams students, a teenager who tells him that her parents and younger sister are diabetic because of “the fast food that was around us.” She fears she is to be diagnosed next.

Deno, while full of sympathy, says he doesn’t “feel that I’m directly the cause” of the problem.

But this is TV and there’s jubilation and more tears ahead at Patra’s before the credits roll.


'Food Revolution' recap, Episode 1

'Food Revolution' recap, Episode 2

Q&A with Jamie Oliver

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: Jamie Oliver teaching nutrition. Credit: ABC


'Food Revolution' recap: Jamie Oliver says 'it's war'

JamieIf at first you don’t succeed, and you’re Jamie Oliver, you try, try again.

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.

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Is Jamie Oliver's 'Food Revolution' behind LAUSD menu changes?

Jamie During the Season 2 premiere of "Food Revolution" Tuesday night, British chef and healthy eating advocate Jamie Oliver gave the thumbs-down to Los Angeles Unified School District lunch items such as sugar-laden brownies, pastries and chocolate milk and carb-filled pizza.

On Wednesday, the LAUSD fired back with a revamped menu that officials won't attribute to Oliver's pressure but instead said has been in the works for some time. Among the new entrees, beginning next school year, will be Salvadorean beef stew, chicken tandoori, Asian pad thai, California sushi roll and teriyaki beef and broccoli with brown rice.

Oliver, who's on a crusade to help obese Americans lighten their loads, was locked out of Los Angeles' schools, though he'd planned to base the new season of his Emmy-winning ABC show in its lunch rooms. The tirelessly chipper chef gave himself some credit on Wednesday for LAUSD's menu changes, while still prodding officials to go further.

"Good news that the 'Food Revolution' has people talking about what Los Angeles schools are feeding our kids," Oliver said in a statement. "Wouldn't it be great if we could find out what the kids are actually eating; where the food comes from; what's on the ingredients' lists; and who is really doing the cooking."

From a viewer perspective, Tuesday night audiences treated "Food Revolution" a little like a plate of plain broccoli. The show drew 5.3 million viewers, a 36% drop from its first season premiere.

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With or without LAUSD, 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' returns for a second season

Oliver Los Angeles Unified School District might have suspended Jamie Oliver from its schools, but that didn't stop his effort to eliminate greasy pizza and fried treats from the mouths of Los Angeles' youth.

"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" returns with a second season in April after some roadblocks. Actually, just one big one: LAUSD.

The nation's second-largest school district barred all filming of reality shows in district schools while the celebrity chef was filming at West Adams Preparatory High School in central Los Angeles in early February.

Soon after the suspension, Oliver expressed his frustration with district officials in a speech at the UCLA School of Public Health:

"My filming permit was terminated because I can't promise that the LAUSD [will] look good," he said, according to a transcript of his speech. "They fail to see me as a positive, and they fail to see the TV as an incredible way to spread the word, to inspire people, to inform parents, to see other teachers doing pioneering things."

But a revolution doesn't come easy, right? To salvage his quest for healthy eating, during the second season, he opens a kitchen in Westwood, stages a demonstration and even attempts to create a healthy fast-food menu in a local drive-through restaurant.

Was it enough?

The second season of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" will premiere April 12 on ABC.

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: A scene from "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." Credit: ABC

Television Academy Honors honors 8 shows 'with a conscience'

With its Television Academy Honors, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will pay tribute to eight programs that demonstrate the power of television to change attitudes and exemplify "television with a conscience."

The honorees selected for the fourth annual event, which will be held May 5 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, explored a range of issues including sexual abuse and assault, racism and teen pregnancy, living with a life-threatening disease and good nutrition in the fight against childhood obesity.

The recipients include "The Big C," "Friday Night Lights," "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Parenthood" and "Private Practice."

Documentaries to be honored include HBO's "Wartorn 1861-2010" and ESPN's "The 16th Man."

-- Greg Braxton

Jamie Oliver says he's 'not about being a food Nazi' on his new ABC series


Jamie Oliver had a tough time this week convincing David Letterman that eating healthfully was possible in America. (Said Letterman: "Soccer. Remember soccer? Well that didn't work either.") Fortunately, Oliver doesn't back down easily.

Still best known as "The Naked Chef" Stateside, Oliver several years ago spent 18 long months shooting a show aimed at changing the British school lunch system for the better -- and he succeeded. Now he's taking on America. In ABC's "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," he sets his sights on Huntington, W.Va., which has been labeled the most unhealthy place in the country. There he finds kids who eat pizza for breakfast and can't identify fresh tomatoes. (In the first episode, one guessed they were potatoes.)

Well Oliver won't stand for it. He wants you to get angry. He tells us why:


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