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By Suzanne

Jamie Oliver

Interview with Jamie Oliver of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" 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. Im 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. Im 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.

Im 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 telephone keypad.

And your first question comes from Jamie Steinberg from Starry Constellation.

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 it.

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. Im kind of hoping to be on this, but he is going to have a different strategy. And I think a strategy thats 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 Im kind of hoping thats 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, thats a big shame. You know, I want them to use me, if anything to do stuff that's positive. So Im hoping that we can still address that, but at the moment, its pretty much a stalemate.

Anya Zadrozny: Wonderful. Thank you.

Jamie Oliver: Thank you.

Operator:Your next question comes from Amy Harrington from Pop Culture Passionistas.

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: Im 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 thing.

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 know.

But you know, the one thing Im 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. Thats 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 general.

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, Im hoping, Im 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, 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 and sign the petition that we're going to take to the White House. And the petition really is, again, inspired from the tag price.

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 thats what the petition is about.

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 you.

Jamie Oliver: Thank you.

Operator:Your next question comes from Gerri Miller from

Gerri Miller: Hi, Jamie.

Jamie Oliver: Hi.

Gerri Miller: I want to know how important is the sustainability local and organic aspect that youre 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 general.

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 thats 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 Im saying is it's not that Im 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, thats a little bit of a way away from the story that we're telling at the moment.

Gerri Miller: In other words, you have to pick your battles and you'll at least get something thats 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 Herald-Dispatch.

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 Im still in contact, obviously, with Huntington's Kitchen and Pastor Steve, your local pastor.

Im 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 theyve 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 thats 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, Im really thankful.

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 second season?

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 this.

But as far as the sort of tangible physical things, those you know, even I was accomplishing in Huntington, you know, I wasnt I still wasnt 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 crossed.

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. Its so nice to be able to speak with you today.

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 to eat.

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 didnt really bother me because she was eating other stuff. But I mean, I think ultimately, you know, thats 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, theyve always eaten the same stuff, like I said, so its not like you know, and I guess, with me, they're kind of same stuff at the time. But you know, that doesnt 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 for them?

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 couldnt 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 Im 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 Vision MegaSite.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. Its nice talking today.

Jamie Oliver: Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Lanoue: I was wondering, can you talk a little more about the resistance that youre 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 wasnt 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 wouldnt 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 doesnt feel right to me.

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, Im 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, Im sure thats the way you look at it. Thats the way I look at it, and whats 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, Im 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 rsum, and really could be an asset to L.A. So, you know, Im 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 turns out.

Patrick Preblick: This is Patrick jumping in to say that Im 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

Press Release:



"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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