Jamie's American Food Revolution
About the Show
Jamie Oliver tackles unhealthy eating in America. But can the straight-talking tactics he used with British school meals work in a country with a very different food culture?
Series 1 Summary
Having tackled British school food and home cooking, Jamie Oliver's off to try to start a food revolution in the US. In his new six-part, Emmy Award-winning series, the chef heads to Huntington, West Virginia - dubbed `America's unhealthiest city'.
Half of Huntington's adults are obese, levels of heart disease and diabetes are the highest in the country, and children now have shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Jamie wants to inspire people to change the way America eats at home, in schools and in the workplace, hoping to make Huntington a healthier city and start a chain reaction of positive change across the country. But will the straight-talking tactics that worked with British school meals succeed in a country with a very different food culture?
Jamie is reduced to tears of despair, but slowly his voice begins to rise above the dissenters. Can he really make a difference against all the odds?
Jamie's bid to inspire culinary change hits opposition right from the start, with a local radio DJ declaring: 'We don't want to sit around and eat lettuce all day'.
Next, in a land where government guidelines allow school children to be served pizza for breakfast and junk food for lunch, and fries are counted as vegetables, Jamie must try to create a healthy new menu at Central City Elementary School, in just two weeks.
The chef meets mum Stacie Edwards, who's feeding her four kids fatty junk food that she knows will kill them. And finds an ally in Pastor Steve, who is tired of burying local people before their time.
Meanwhile, Jamie opens a kitchen in town, where local people can learn to cook for free. But at the school Jamie's new menu doesn't go down well. And that's before his comments about the town's eating habits force him to make a public apology.
Jamie finds the kids of Huntington are unimpressed when he dresses up as 'Mr Pea' to persuade them to eat his healthy tuna bake. And when he shows a class what's really inside chicken nuggets every single kid stills wants one.
Meanwhile, mum-of-our Stacie finds it hard to cook healthy food for her family, and her 12-year-old son Justin faces a hospital test for diabetes.
At the school, Jamie tries shock tactics with parents, collecting all the fat and junk their kids eat in a year in a giant tarpaulin. And it's crunch time as school food boss Rhonda reveals whether Jamie's experiment will be allowed to continue...
Jamie checks to see how the two-week healthy food trial is working at Huntington's Central City Elementary School
Although dinner lady Alice doesn't have much positive to say, the kids seem to like the food, with the homemade shepherd's pie a big hit. And some pupils are even eating broccoli.
Jamie has also been given the chance to take over food provision at the local high school, where pizza is a lot more popular than salad. Jamie recruits and trains-up several teenagers as novice cooks and ambassadors for change. After preparing healthy food for their fellow students, Jamie challenges them to cook for eighty local dignitaries at a fundraising dinner.
Jamie organises a 'flash mob' to get people to come and learn about healthy cooking.
Jamie bets local DJ Rod that he can get a thousand people in just five days to come to his kitchen to learn a recipe. He organises a `flash mob' cooking and dancing session to get students at the local Marshall University along. And so many new trainees pour in that they have to set up tables on the street to teach them. He also persuades local steel workers to try.
Later on Jamie introduces Rod to student chef Brittany, who reveals that she may only have seven years to live because of her weight.
And Jamie takes the DJ to the local mortuary, where the staff have resorted to over-sized coffins to bury super-sized people.
Jamie meets the head of the local hospital to beg for $150,000 to keep the food revolution going. And he learns some shocking news from the local school's supplier.
To have any chance of raising extra funds for the food revolution, Jamie needs to show that the school projects are working. And he gets a surprise boost at the high school when he lets the kids choose between their old junk food and his healthy menu. But there are problems at the elementary school, where chocolate-flavoured milk is still on the menu. Apparently, the government think it's more important that the children drink enough calcium, even if it means over-loading them with sugar...
Meanwhile, Jamie meets the company that sells food to the schools and is surprised to find out that they also offer fresher foods to the schools - but they aren't interested in buying it.
Jamie holds a food festival as he bids an emotional farewell to the people of Huntington. But as he starts promoting the revolution around the country, problems hit the project.
As he prepares to move on, Jamie hooks up with lots of old friends, including Stacie Edwards and her family, who've taken the cooking advice to heart and are shedding weight. While hospital boss Doug presents an $80,000 cheque to spread the project to all the area's schools, a further $50,000 donation maintains cooking lessons at the re-named Huntington's Kitchen. And the school food supplier pledges a year's free produce.
But as Jamie starts promoting the revolution around the country, problems hit the project in Huntington. The elementary school wants to use up its stockpile of processed food, and kids are still given junk-filled lunch boxes, and dinner lady Alice has received hate mail.
However, even Jamie's former nemesis, radio DJ Rod, now offers praise to the project's virtues, as Jamie says it's not his revolution now, but theirs...
Jamie's American Food Revolution synopsis
Jamie Oliver tackles unhealthy eating in America. But can the straight-talking tactics he used with British school meals work in a country with a very different food culture?Episode Guide >