In a six-part documentary series, episode one of Jamie’s Food Revolution began in Huntington, West Virginia, named the unhealthiest city in America, where the first episode ends with Oliver crying.
Oliver’s wish to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food was granted when he was announced the recipient of the 2010 TED Prize, an award granting recipients $100,000, and an opportunity to realize their wish to change the world.
Oliver has hosted 12 television series seen in 130 countries, and is a bestselling author of 10 cookbooks translated into 29 languages; he has sold almost 24 million copies in 56 countries. Oliver’s School Dinners/Feed Me Better campaign pressured the UK government to invest $1 billion to overhaul school lunches to improve nutrition.
But after the first two months of Jamie’s new meal revolution in Huntington, West Virginia’s school lunch program at Central City Elementary, children disliked the food so much many students dropped out of the school lunch program altogether.
Central City Elementary has reintroduced the regular school menu and offers Jamie’s menu as a lunchtime option. (You can see both menus here.)
Additionally, food costs were over budget, and Jamie’s failure to meet nutritional guidelines threatens the school’s federal funding.
Daniel Walters with Pacific Northwest Inlander writes: “Huntington isn’t ready to start eating out of the palm of Oliver’s hand. He’s a bit obnoxious, a bit self-righteous, a bit naïve. Oliver dresses up in a giant plush pea costume to somehow make children feel more comfortable around vegetables. Instead of explaining to Huntington why processed food is bad, he pours tons of cafeteria food on a tarp, and mixes it with chocolate milk. Not exactly persuasive.”
Oliver also seems to be the subject of irritation for Disc jockey Rod Willis, the man Oliver describes in the episode series as “the biggest enemy of the food revolution” who took him up on his bet that the chef couldn’t get 1,000 people cooking healthy food within five days.
In the final episode of Oliver’s Food Revolution, he leaves Huntington only to return with Rascal Flatts — the country music band from Columbus, Ohio — for a surprise free performance.
Let’s face it, Oliver’s nutritional message of good will is doomed. How can nutritional activists compete in an insane country where Doritos Corn chips made from highly refined processed GM grains and pesticide genes, are allowed to be pimped by Frito-Lay as good stuff necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.
The irony of all this is that ABC, Jamie Oliver and producer Ryan Seacrest “all profit handsomely from the processed and junk-food industry either through advertising — more than $15 billion in 2008 from just 15 food companies — or in the case of Oliver, endorsements.”