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Interview with Jamie Oliver of "Jamie Oliver's Food
on ABC 4/7/11.
The Walt Disney Company-ABC
Moderator: Patrick Preblick
April 7, 2011
2:00 p.m. ET
Operator:Welcome to Disney's Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Conference
Call with Pat Preblick as the leader.
This call is being recorded. By staying on this call, you are confirming
that you consent to this recording. If you do not wish to be recorded,
please disconnect from the call at this time. Thank you.
Ms. Preblick, you may begin your call.
Patrick Preblick: Thanks for joining us today.
Without further ado, let me turn it over to Jamie Oliver, the producer
and star of our second season of our Emmy-winning series Jamie Oliver's
Food Revolution debuting on ABC, Tuesday night, April 12, seven to eight
– at 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. – I’m sorry – 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Jamie, take it away.
Jamie Oliver: Hi, guys. I guess, just to say hi and really throw it out
to you guys. I’m sort of at your disposal for the next half an hour to
talk about what's been going on in Season 2. It's been colorful. We're
still in production. We filmed most of it.
I’m going back to L.A. in about eight days' time. And so far, everyone
is very passionate about it and hopefully, we can keep right in the
conversation the stuff we started in Season 1. So I don't know how it
works really, but if – so I'll throw it out to the guys on the call.
Patrick Preblick: And, (Sophie), if you'll remind to all the reporters
how to do the prompt to ask for – ask for questions.
Operator:Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a
question, please press star then the number one on your telephone
keypad. Again, to ask a question, please press star one on your
And your first question comes from Jamie Steinberg from Starry
Jamie Steinberg: Hi. It's a pleasure to speak with you.
Jamie Oliver: Hi, darling.
Jamie Steinberg: I was wondering, what's different about this Food
Revolution than the last one?
Jamie Oliver: Well, I guess – you know, in Season 1, we were really
going into the eye of the storm. The CDC report when we research and
sort of pulled out the Tri-State area, which, you know, Huntington, West
Virginia. So we really went to the eye of the storm last year.
And really based on how things – I mean, as far as Huntington is
concerned, just to sort of get you up to speed, everything that we set
up and everything that we did is still running. And everything that is
running, you know, is still being successful. And actually, they're
doing even more, they're running with it – lots of great local things
out being – you know, from farmers' markets to local restaurants, to
fitness clubs, to – the kitchen is still there. It's still booked out
three months in advance, which is great.
And what's really nice is the next district to Huntington has two moms
basically did exactly what I did and fundraised money, and they started
to roll out fresh food in the schools and the neighboring district,
which is twice the size, which is really exciting.
So from that, you know, L.A. was really about begging up and trying to
spread the word in a bigger, more efficient way really. I kind of felt
that California and L.A. was perfectly situated to be a state that could
inspire, in many ways, across the state and across the world really, so
I kind of felt fairly passionately that L.A. was the right place to go.
Jamie Steinberg: Are there similar or different challenges that you
face, or a little bit of both?
Jamie Oliver: I think ultimately, you know, the same challenges are
everywhere. You know, nowhere is exclusive to getting away with the
realities of diet-related obesity, bad health, lack of food education –
nowhere, absolutely nowhere.
So what I mean – I mean, I think L.A. is a pretty amazing example of
that really because you've got some of the nice healthy, fit people in
the world and some of the most wonderful food in the world. But, you
know, with inside of the L.A. – within sight of the Hollywood sign,
you've also got some incredible poverty and food business where, you
know, people without cars have to spend two – three hours on a roundtrip
getting fresh food.
Jamie Steinberg: OK. Thank you so much for your time.
Jamie Oliver: Pleasure.
Operator:Your next question comes from Anya Zadrozny from MTV Radio.
Anya Zadrozny: Hi, good afternoon. Thanks for talking to us.
Jamie Oliver: Hi, Anya.
Anya Zadrozny: So did you – coming into the second season, you had all
this experience – I mean, your whole life but also with – specifically
with the first season that we got to see. Did you think your experience
in L.A. was going to be easier than it turned out to be?
Jamie Oliver: No, I never think anything is going to be easy – anything
involving change of heart or mind. Certainly, as far as organizations or
businesses or, you know, civic bodies like education authorities are
concerned. It is always going to be really painful.
But I have to be honest, I never really expected to be banned from every
single school in the district. That was a shock, and we have to see –
think about how we're going to react to that. But in a way, the public
did it for us because, you know, whether the parents or even teachers
and principals or students themselves, they made it pretty clear that
they would have liked me to sort of get involved somehow.
So throughout the course of the series, there is – there is a tension
between myself and the LAUSD. You know, they'll have their views and
you'll see that. And certainly my views were – well, my views are really
based around, you know, lack of transparency and seeing exactly where
the food came from and what they did and the processes in which they did
But I'd like to think that, you know, we are still in production, LAUSD
have just got a new superintendent starting any minute now. I’m kind of
hoping to be on this, but he is going to have a different strategy. And
I think a strategy that’s more inclusive about, you know, being open to
the public or shows or journalists seeing what we're feeding the kids
180 days of the year.
So I’m kind of hoping that’s going to happen, and obviously, I have to
try and work with them to – I mean, ultimately, my goal is certainly not
to fight with the LAUSD. I mean, that’s a big shame. You know, I want
them to use me, if anything to do stuff that's positive. So I’m hoping
that we can still address that, but at the moment, it’s pretty much a
Anya Zadrozny: Wonderful. Thank you.
Jamie Oliver: Thank you.
Operator:Your next question comes from Amy Harrington from Pop Culture
Amy Harrington: Hi, Jamie. Thanks so much for your time today.
Jamie Oliver: Pleasure.
Amy Harrington: We're really just constantly amazed by the passion that
you have for this and really grateful and impressed by it. And we're
wondering where does your passion for this – you know, this movement
come from, what's the genesis of it?
Jamie Oliver: I’m a food lover. I grew up in – I was born into the food
business. You know, I can't lie. I mean, I never thought I'd be doing
these 15 years ago. But through (mile the journey), you know, I think
when you are a chef on T.V. and I work in about 120 countries around the
world, you know, it's a weird thing trying to explain that yet over a
number of years, you build up a trust to the public.
And about six years ago, I did four one-hour documentaries about school
food, and it just became very political very quickly. So it's not so
much that – it's really not so much that I'm anything special. It's just
I've found myself in a position where when I move my mouth, it often
swells the public into doing different things or buying different
things. And obviously, you know, it kind of helps if it's a positive
So when we kind of have our success in England and we're still working
on that to this day, you know, I've been trying to do Food Revolution on
the network for five years. So eventually, somehow – I mean, I don't
know how really, I mean, ABC commissioned it. But to be honest, it is
not the prettiest show in the world to make. It's not full of joy and
bouncing around and – you know, it can be fairly depressing. It can be –
you know, when doors get slammed in your face a lot, it feels like – you
know, often it feels like you're not doing the call of service, you
But – you know, the one thing I’m proud of this year is genuinely even
though the LAUSD stuff was a problem and still is, and hopefully we can
fix it. We did get very close to the poor communities. We did get close
to young teenage Americans and kids. And we did address a few other new
subjects like fast food and some of the processes in the food.
And we – and genuinely, we did film some of the most important days – I
mean, some of the best filming I've ever done in my career we've done,
you know, in the last few months.
Amy Harrington: Great. That’s really impressive. And what can people,
who are in cities across the country or across the world who aren't –
you know, a city where you are making a change, what can they do to help
make this change a national change?
Jamie Oliver: Brilliant question. I mean, I think – I mean, genuinely,
what this program – this program certainly in its heart is trying to
provoke change. And some people struggle with the bigger picture. I
mean, I've always been pretty clear about it. But people say, what is
the Food Revolution? And it really is just trying to get Americans to
expect more and getting them a bit more streetwise about food, in
But, you know, absolutely we don't want people just to watch the show
and then turn over and get on with life. You know, I’m hoping, I’m
praying that people will get pissed off with some of the stuff that they
see in a really healthy way.
So when I got the tag price last year, some of the offers of giving and
the money that we raised, we've built a kind – on
jamiesfoodrevolution.com, we have an activism sort of area where anyone
in America can find out where there are similar problems near them or
join up with other parents or, you know, go to different events.
So what we're really trying to do is facilitate activism. So the Web
site is going to be a massive thing and, of course, ABC will be throwing
it to their own Web site after the show and link it with ours.
But, you know, I mean, to kind of make it more simplistic, you know,
just cooking once a week with your family is – you know, whether it's in
England or America, is a big deal now, you know, and helps reconnect
some of those family values and social values and, of course, you know,
invisibly food education. Tell your friends about it, get them to – go
to foodrevolution.com and sign the petition that we're going to take to
the White House. And the petition really is, again, inspired from the
You know, we're now kind of focused what I think is coming out of the
show is that we know so much about diet-related disease and obesity and
the damage and the cost of it that it's simply not good enough that it's
not a requirement for every child in America to be taught about food in
school. And for it not to be a requirement is simply ignoring a massive
opportunity to make positive change. So that’s what the petition is
So there's lot – you know, there's so much that people can do. And also,
in the show, you'll see different ways of people getting involved.
Amy Harrington: Excellent. Well, thank you so much and best of luck to
Jamie Oliver: Thank you.
Operator:Your next question comes from Gerri Miller from mnn.com.
Gerri Miller: Hi, Jamie.
Jamie Oliver: Hi.
Gerri Miller: I want to know how important is the sustainability – local
and organic – aspect that you’re teaching and that people should know
about in terms of making this change.
Jamie Oliver: Well, you know, sustainability is an interesting word
these days, often used out of context as well.
I mean, of course, you know, in the time I spend with students in
schools, you know, food education is about anything that simple. I mean,
you're going to see in the show 17-year-olds, a year away from voting,
that have an incredibly low general knowledge of really basic stuff. And
the point of that certainly isn't to patronize them, it's to show how
the adults are really not helping them become streetwise around food in
So where food comes from, what it does to their bodies, you know, how
they can save – you know, how they can use food to be streetwise and
save money or turn a pile of ingredients into a quick dinner. I mean,
absolutely that’s what we push in.
As far as organics and welfare standards are concerned, I mean, I – we
cover that stuff in the educational work that I do and the packs that I
make for other teachers to use. The sad reality is, at the moment, the
war is against highly processed low-quality food versus fresh chicken.
You know, so that chicken ain't going to be organic and it probably
ain't going to be free-range unless it's by just because of – by luck.
So I mean, I suppose what I’m saying is it's not that I’m not passionate
about it, it's just that we're really working from the bottom-up here.
So educationally, we're covering it.
As far as, you know, a school – a fresh school meal on budget is
concerned, you know, it is actually possible on a fairly healthy budget.
I mean, they say L.A. is about 77 cents on the plate. New York is about
96 cents on the plate. Some have commodities, some don't use them. There
are so many strange details of that.
It's quite easy to upgrade to free-range eggs and things like organic
milk without really upsetting the budget. But to be honest, that’s a
little bit of a way away from the story that we're telling at the
Gerri Miller: In other words, you have to pick your battles and you'll
at least get something that’s healthy for you rather than go the extra
mile if it's not going to fit the budget.
Jamie Oliver: You are absolutely right. I mean, what we saw in England
on transition, if you get a school, you get them to – instead of traying
up and reheating, you're getting them to sort of, you know, get a few
bits of vital equipment to save time, prep up, and cook meals from
scratch. And then what you see over the course of a couple of years is,
you know, two years later, you know, you will find things like
free-range eggs, organic milk and yogurt on the menu, even in a regular
public school. So it can be done, but I mean, yes, it's choosing your
battles' time at the moment.
Gerri Miller: Yes. Oh, I see that. Thanks so much.
Jamie Oliver: Pleasure.
Operator:Your next question comes from Angela Henderson from The
Angela Henderson: Hi, Jamie. Thanks for taking the time.
Jamie Oliver: Hi, Angela.
Angela Henderson: So looking back for a second on Season 1, what did you
– what accomplishment in Huntington are you the most proud of?
Jamie Oliver: I think really Huntington itself. I mean, I think I’m
still in contact, obviously, with Huntington's Kitchen and Pastor Steve,
your local pastor.
I’m really – the stuff that I set-up is still running. And not only
that, we've added to it the different groups. And even the local media,
you know, does kind of a food revolution now. I mean, really what I'd be
most proud of is that I came and I went, but really it was never about
me – it was never about me fixing Huntington, it is about Huntington,
you know, just – you know, getting on its own journey. And I really
think that they’ve done that.
And, you know, to sort of sit back and see the farmers' market start,
you know, to see those shops reopening along poor man's square and even
a local West Virginian restaurant open. You know, all those things sort
of add up. And even – I don't know if you know about it but the local –
the state next door – the district next door, there were two mothers
that campaigned and raised money privately to get the training in place
so they could roll out the fresh food in the district next door, and
they are already on rollout right now.
So what I love, it actually – I don't know, the people don't want to
make a change and feels likely more empowered to do it. And, you know,
one of the big things with being, you know, an activist or wanting to
make a change is sometimes you feel like a freak, sometimes you feel
like the annoying parents. But actually – I mean, I hope that things
like Food Revolution becomes a little bit of a face for all the great
people that are doing great projects around the states.
And, you know, ultimately the people that are doing great things are
successful. They want to roll out and do more and even that – even after
success, even if it's on budget, even that’s still a problem.
But, you know, certainly one of the heroes from Huntington is Doug
Shiels and the guys from Cabell County Hospital that are still funding a
lot of these health projects in the kitchen. So, you know, for that, I’m
Angela Henderson: And was there any lesson you learned during the first
season that helped you out and that you are able to carry over into the
Jamie Oliver: Well, not really – not really. I mean, looking back and
even – I have – you know, I have – it's a bit of a humble part in L.A.
really. I mean, L.A. is so ready for this. The public and the response
from the public and the parents and the kids, they're so on board for
But as far as the sort of tangible physical things, those – you know,
even I was accomplishing in Huntington, you know, I wasn’t – I still
wasn’t able to cut through in the LAUSD which kind of, you know,
sometimes, you have to question, you know, am I doing a good job? Is
this worth it? You know, is this – is this the right thing to do?
But I think the story this year was different and it became more about
spreading the word, different stories. And really what – you know, my
reflections back to Huntington are very fond, and it's very different. I
mean, I think – hopefully, the outcome of this year were really I want
to get parents to be clear about some opinions of food, and schools, and
school food, and school food education. And hopefully, we can try and
get them to make their voices heard.
You know, ultimately, we've got to convince, you know, people that are
in-charge of – you know, businesses, organizations, or school food
district – school districts that, you know, the parents really want this
and that they will get votes if they do the right thing – so fingers
Angela Henderson: Thanks, Jamie. Good luck with everything.
Jamie Oliver: Thank you.
Operator:Your next question comes from Stephanie Webber from Us Weekly.
Stephanie Webber: Hi, Jamie. It’s so nice to be able to speak with you
Jamie Oliver: Hi, Steph.
Stephanie Webber: Now, we know that you have, I believe, a two-year-old
and a seven-month-old, what are the types of foods that you feed them?
Jamie Oliver: Well, once you get them on the food and get them on to
sort of basic mashed or pureed sort of veggies and fruits and stuff,
pretty much we just – we cook the same food as we do always cook just
but without salt. And you just go from puree to chunky to little chops
up. And before you know it, they are full and they are eating pretty
much what you eat.
So – and I've never really been a massive fan of, you know, cooking a
separate food for mom and separate food for one kid and separate food
for another. That generally ends up in spending too much money and kind
of – you know, and a lot more work. But basically, to answer your
questions, just whatever we eat really minus the salt.
Stephanie Webber: Are they – are any of your kids' picky-eaters at all?
Jamie Oliver: Kids are funny little things. I've worked with many, many
kids, many families from many backgrounds – England and America. And
they have their challenges. I mean, ultimately and frankly, there's not
like a brilliant rule book. It's more – for me, I look at kids and
relationship – their relationship with food and what they will and want
It's a minimum target. It's very elastic. It chops, it changes. Their
own palettes are changing. For me, it's more of a philosophy and I
guess, that philosophy is so we're trying to focus on what they do like
instead of what they don't. You know, making food represent fun,
allowing them to kind of get involved, you know, in shopping or at the
weekend, get involved at least and kind of realizing that it takes some
ingredients to make a cake or make some ingredients to make a stir-fry
or even a taco.
You know, so I think – you know, my kids, have they been picky? Yes,
probably went off green things for a couple of months. It didn’t really
bother me because she was eating other stuff. But I mean, I think
ultimately, you know, that’s pretty good really. They sort of eat –
they're not on sushi but I mean, they're on – you know, that they –
anything to do with pasta. They're pretty good on salads.
But to be honest, they’ve always eaten the same stuff, like I said, so
it’s not like – you know, and I guess, with me, they're kind of same
stuff at the time. But – you know, that doesn’t mean I don't have to
tell them they have to finish their plate; otherwise, they don't get a
desert, you know.
Stephanie Webber: Yes.
Jamie Oliver: They're normal kids.
Stephanie Webber: And lastly, are there any specific latest milestones
Jamie Oliver: For my kids?
Stephanie Webber: Yes.
Jamie Oliver: Not really. I mean, they're just – you know, I don't
really do anything risky like sushi or oysters or kind of like anything
really outside of the box. But I don't know, the other day I made them a
bet that they couldn’t memorize every herb in the garden in an hour.
And, of course, because I – you know, they made me bet that I'd get them
a scooter if they did and I never thought they would. And it took them
about 40 minutes to memorize about 30 herbs.
And then when they beat me, I thought that's too easy so I blindfolded
them and got them to do it by smell. And again, they did it again. And
since then, I've done it with classes of kids.
I suppose what I’m saying is it constantly amazes me how bright kids are
and how much kids love cooking. And if you set them a challenge and –
even if you incentivize them with badges, and stickers, and kind of like
just good kind of – what's the word – sort of – you know, probably sort
of – you know, reinforcement. They react really, really well, so yes.
Stephanie Webber: All right. Thank you very much.
Jamie Oliver: Pleasure.
Operator:Your next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue from Treasury
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. It’s nice talking today.
Jamie Oliver: Hi, Suzanne.
Suzanne Lanoue: I was wondering, can you talk a little more about the
resistance that you’re getting from the school district? Where does it
coming from? Is it politics or money or–?
Jamie Oliver: I guess, some of those questions about, would it be easy
to ask if I was able to look inside and see what was going on?
The one thing that we found out is – you know, this is a quote – well,
not that quote but quoted from the – Ramon Cortines who is the
superintendent of the school board. You know, he said it wasn’t the
LAUSD that (inaudible) him. So it's pretty much for whatever reason is
personal between me and him. I mean, ultimately, they want a massive
organization that affects so many, you know, 650,000 meals a day.
And whether they like me or not, whether they find me irritating or not,
whether they like T.V. or not, and one big issue is that if they were
running a private company funded by their own money, I wouldn’t mind
being kept out. But when…
Suzanne Lanoue: OK.
Jamie Oliver: …it's a public civic organization affects so many people
and he's controlled by so few, you know, it just doesn’t feel right to
So what the friction really, they just won't play ball at all. And the
only opportunity I get to talk to them is every two weeks. There is a
public board meeting that is held open to any public with anything –
cameras and that sort of a local state law. So I went to that every
other week. And, you know, I’m not saying I necessarily achieved
anything because the last time I went there, he raked me over the coals.
But ultimately, it's about lack of transparency and not wanting to have
someone poking through their laundry drawer really.
But, you know, we've got people on the inside in the LAUSD and, you
know, it seems fairly clear – you know, the split views and – I don't
know. We're not procuring things for so many people, even the price of
an apple becomes very political. So, you know, I really don't know
what's going on in that business.
Suzanne Lanoue: Right. It sounds like a big bureaucracy and they don't
want to give up any of their little power and…
Jamie Oliver: Well, I mean, ultimately, look – to put it in perspective,
we tried for three months – four months actually to get into the LAUSD.
To no avail, we signed up Santa Barbara District. Within two hours, we
had all our permissions granted and we were filming there the next day,
and we were allowed to go to any school, any point, and look at anything
that we wanted.
And when I asked why do you think – why did you let me in so quickly?
They just said, we got nothing to hide. So, you know, that – I mean, you
know, I’m sure that’s the way you look at it. That’s the way I look at
it, and what’s the problem?
Suzanne Lanoue: Yes. So where – well, I know you're still filming the
second season, but if you're going to the third season, where do you
think – do you have any ideas yet about where you might want to go next?
Jamie Oliver: Not really. I mean, I think – oh, genuinely, I think my
job is to sort of sound out the public, you know. I really don't look at
this as a reality T.V. show. You know, I’m going to see what the public
do, what they react to. Like I said, we're still filming program six, so
if John Deasy wants to talk to me and wants to do what I know the public
want, which is to have a transparent attitude towards evolution and
positivity on what we feed kids 180 days of the year.
If he's really clever, you know, he will let us in for filming and we
can have a dialogue. That would be amazing, that would be – you know.
And as far as I know, this new guy is bright, has a wonderful résumé,
and really could be an asset to L.A. So, you know, I’m not getting more
nothing, but I hope that – I believe that the show will inspire
certainly L.A. parents to be very vocal and American parents as well.
And I just hope that this new beginning, as far as the superintendent is
concerned, could be kicked off on a right foot.
Suzanne Lanoue: Well, thank you, and I look forward to seeing how it
Patrick Preblick: This is Patrick jumping in to say that I’m afraid
we've run out of time, but I want to thank all of you for participating.
And thanks, Jamie, for your time.
Official ABC Site
JAMIE OLIVER’S FOOD REVOLUTION (4/26)
JAMIE MAKES INROADS AT PATRA'S, BUT HITS A MASSIVE ROADBLOCK
WHEN THE SCHOOL BOARD BANS HIM FROM SERVING FOOD TO
WEST ADAMS STUDENTS, ON "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION"
"Is It Me or Have We Just Been Pushed Into a Corner?" - MLA CEO Mike
McGalliard delivers a shattering blow to Jamie and his 10 teenaged
culinary students at West Adams Preparatory High School: They've been
banned from serving food on campus. Heartbroken and defeated, Jamie
makes an emotional plea to the kids' parents and gives the students a
graphic reality check about what is really in the foods they're eating
every day, on "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," TUESDAY, APRIL 26
(8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to soften the hard-line stance of Patra's
owner, Dino, against adding a few healthier options to his menu and
renovating his kitchen, Jamie introduces him to Sophia, a 17-year-old
West Adams student whose entire family has been plagued by Type II
Diabetes. While Dino is sympathetic, it takes a desperate plea from a
complete stranger to help him see beyond his bottom line.
"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" is produced by the Fresh One
Productions and Ryan Seacrest Productions. Executive producers are Jamie
Oliver, Ryan Seacrest, Craig Armstrong, Adam Sher and Roy Ackerman.
"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P),
ABC's selected HDTV format, with stereo sound. A TV parental guideline
will be assigned closer to airdate.
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