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Jamie Oliver’s Lonely Struggle In L.A.–Not!

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Jamie Oliver’s Lonely Struggle In L.A.–Not!

Jamie Oliver is at it again. After the successful run, last year, of his “Food Revolution” first season in Huntington, Virginia, the British celebrity chef has taken his Reality TV show to Los Angeles. His goal: to single-handedly introduce nutritious, delicious fare, on budget, in the LAUSD school lunch program, and to spur the transformation of the fast-food industry.

Those of us who followed his adventures online well before the first episode aired last April, already knew that Jamie’s Los Angeles mission has been an exceptionally challenging one. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in America with 680,000 students, shines in the role of the villain. Its reputation as a hard nut to crack has been long established, and it seemingly has many reasons to hide its food operations from TV cameras (to judge by the appalling “food” that students bring to Jamie in the first episode). Ironically, its stubborn refusal to collaborate on the grounds that Reality TV stirs despicable drama, and its intimidation attempts against Jamie Oliver and whoever is willing to collaborate with him, actually bring a perfect dramatic intrigue to the show.

Against the Dark Side of the Force, our British Jedi who calls everyone “Brother” and “Sis” spares no effort to garner support among parents, and to bring about a Better World of Food to the homeland of fast-food joints. His passion, his creativity and his energy are truly inspiring. The man is on a mission, and a crucial one at that: watch 17-year old Sofia cry as she talks about her diabetes-afflicted family, including her 13-year old sister; gape in disbelief during Jamie’s multiple choice test, as you hear one of Sofia’s Mexican school-mates venture the guess that apples are the main ingredient is guacamole, while other students surmise that butter comes from corn and honey from honey bears. And don’t be embarrassed if your eyes moisten somewhat as Jamie loses his panache in a moment of despair, struggles to keep his composure, and slumps into a chair to confess to a group of parents how tough and taxing a battle he’s been waging.

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.

79 comments

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10:23PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

I like Jamie Oliver! There is nothing wrong with what he's doing.....There is something wrong with NOT letting him do it!!

3:30AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Thanks for sharing this information

8:48PM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

ok

12:14PM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

thanks

12:08PM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

Jamie is a very good chef and well loved and followed in England. Hope he keeps trying to make people understand him.

11:16AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

You've all confirmed my original statement--many adore him!
yes, he is a CCP. Yet he wastes too much food, doesn't understand Childhood Obesity and gets quite wealthy as he wastes $1000's on ingredients that the kids toss away, that get poured out of a school bus or into a super sized whatever.

The Guy doesn't know what budget restaints implys or how to stay within the means of such. Is he getting wealthier maybe----is he helpingthe kids no not really. What he is doing is demonstratng how to waste----nothing else. Sure many may remember his appearance, but only because his name is large and possibly by the amount sugar wasted out of that bus, but it is a waste nothing more or less.
Will the people watching care, short term maybe a handful.

Personally and professionally I would rather watch him build a grocery store in a produce desert, rather than watch hundreds and thousands of dollars being poured out of a bus which is an ignorant and mindless act as he exergerates how much sugar we each eat per year or whatever period of time he feels like choosing.

11:05AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

I read this stuff so many times, I don't want to go through it again, but want to say that whoever said Jamie is an actor is a twit! Go to Wikipedia and read his bio! Drummer in his spare time, yes, but a CHEF from day one!

10:38AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jamie Oliver and know for a fact that he is a great guy and wants to help others. This isn't just reality TV, his show is more of a documentary which shows how truly corrupt these lunch programs are. Everyone needs to support this show! Yes, I agree that people were already fighting this battle, but this brings it to a whole different level and gets the knowledge out to more people!

7:33AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

@ Marie Therese. I am also a 1941 'baby'. Britain during rationing in WW11. I was so malnourished ( not because my mother couldn't cook) even though we kept chickens, and had a garden, because there simply wasn't enough to go round. Living in London, (actually near the airport) was worse than elsewhere, and my brother and I were often sick. Eventually, our Dr. suggested moving to the south by the coast, so, at least we would have fresh air. Even though I swam in the sea, climbed trees, road my bike, for fun, and to and from school, I grew up excessively thin boned (I don't know what's normal, but my wrists are only 5 3/4" around) Later on, I walked a lot and then became a dancer (showgirl) in Paris and toured for years. Even so, with all that exercise, in my old age I have scoliosis and arthritis in my spine and all my joints.

I am amazed at myself, that it never occurred to me, that all my later problems stem from all that long ago. Of course that was the problem! Without a good foundation, no amount of good (great) food could let me catch up!

5:52AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

I was born in 1941. Through the forties up to the seventies, info
on food was almost non-existent. Consequently I suffered from malnutrition which has left damages up till now. My poor mother didn't know better.

Now, with radio and T.V., even the illiterate get great info on foods....Most of the people who eat badly, choose to do so, because taste is more important to them than health!

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