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Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, season two

Is anyone watching Jamie Oliver on ABC tonight (8 PM eastern)? I'm looking forward to it.


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  1. As am I. The British one was pretty damn good Season1 of the american one was pretty good also. I kind think its important to show people that there is great tasting easy to prepare foods out there that is actually good for you. I do all the cooking in our house and have the knowledge to prepare reasonably healthy meals. I went to culinary school and was a proffesional chef.

    Actually its kind of funny, I hated the naked chef when he first appeared, but over the last probably 10 years began to really respect him and his ideals.

    1. My favorite part of last night's show was the crazy guy at the school board meeting going on about the Seventh Seal and Judgment Day. It wasn't related to the food, per se, but it made me laugh.

      I don't really like Jamie Oliver, per se. I never really watched him or knew much about him before the first season of this show, and I think he can be a little abrasive, but I very much respect his mission and his tenacity (and his willingness to slog through through the absurd morass of local government, which is hard enough for even a well-educated and civic-minded American citizen, not to mention a foreign national).

      1. Turned me off to see him go after a local fast food business when he got frustrated with the school system. It's one thing to go after the public sector - making government work better is everybody's business. But going after a private enterprise and asking them to negatively affect their profits by introducing supposedly healthier products - that's just dumb. The marketplace rules. Healthier products will take their place as people demand them, which is starting to happen in many ways - just not in the lower end of the fast food spectrum. Jamie trying to strong-arm the small business owner into making less money just came off as hoity-toity and ultimately ignorant.

        I never did watch season 1, so I don't know what's going to happen next - but if the LA board keeps him out, I don't see much of a show.

        83 Replies
        1. re: applehome

          I didn't care for that segment either, though I did notice while the fellow they served the burgers to said he didn't want to spend the extra $2 for Jamie's he deffinitely preferred it and took huge bites as they were about to cut away. Perhaps given the chance to eat one every day for a week he wouldn't want to go back to the cheaper one.

          1. re: applehome

            Since the fast food guy obviously agreed to be on the show, it's hard to think of Jamie's tactics as truly strong-arming.

            Does that pink spooge go in *all* ground beef products? I wasn't sure.

            1. re: Jay F

              Does that pink spooge go in *all* ground beef products? I wasn't sure.
              about 70% of all commercially-prepared ground beef products.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                How do I avoid it? And is the same thing done to ground turkey?

                1. re: Jay F

                  I've been grinding my own meat for years - you get to buy the meat you want, you can make sure that there is no e. coli (blanch the chunk of meat and remove the thin outer cooked part). And no ammonia. I just use the Kitchen-aid attachment because I do so little at a time and it's cheap and easy to use.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    You can go to a butcher and have them grind meat for you.

                    1. re: donovt

                      That's more likely what I'm going to do, go to the butcher. I did it just an hour ago, in fact. I don't have enough room for grinding meat, nor do I particularly like touching it. Thanks to you both, donovt and applehome.

                    2. re: Jay F

                      How do I avoid it? And is the same thing done to ground turkey?
                      no, the same thing isn't done to ground turkey...but just know that unless it's specifically labeled as ground turkey *breast* there's a good chance it contains ground bones, skin & connective tissue in addition to meat.

                      as for avoiding pink slime, as c, donovt and applehome all said, for home preparation have the butcher grind it in front of you since you don't want to do it yourself. but if you really intend to avoid it altogether, you'll also have to forgo pretty much all fast food and restaurant items that contain ground beef unless they specify that the meat is ground on the premises. oh, and frozen/prepared food products that contain ground beef.

                      sorry you asked? ;)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        No. I'm glad to find out. I'm not a big lover of fast food or ground beef. I've been using ground turkey for at least 20 years in most things that call for ground beef. The only ground beef I eat out is from Five Guys, and that's ground on site, and even that I eat 3X a year, maybe.

                        I'm looking at eating more meat that I can prepare simply, because of diabetes. So I thought I might revisit ground beef. I'm glad I can get it fresh ground.

                        Tonight I'm just having pistachios and a little bit of raisins. Tomorrow I'm going to make something with boneless/skinless chicken breasts (BSCBs), marinated in yogurt and tandoori spice mix from Penzey's.

                        The next time, some sauteed onion, garlic, ground turkey, beans, with curry powder, and green peas.

                        Then chili. No cornbread or Krispy Krackers.

                        Then bolognese. By itself. And some Parmigiano-Reggiano (good on chili, too).

                        I'm not eating bread with cheese, so not as much St. Andre.

                        I'm not eating pasta. I heard the brown stuff is no better than the white, really.

                        I buy some kind of veg the day I'm going to eat it. So that's my next couple of days. Then I'll have to get back to fish.

                        I'm getting a lot of ideas from Jamie Oliver, though I'm not following his recipes exactly (I don't think I'd like coconut, so I'm going to substitute cream in another try at chicken tikka masala, from JAMIE'S FOOD REVOLUTION).

                        It's kind of fun to go off on a new tangent.

                        1. re: Jay F

                          I'm not eating pasta. I heard the brown stuff is no better than the white, really.
                          you heard right. smart choice to just avoid it altogether.

                          as for the coconut milk, don't write it off just yet. i avoided coconut (and anything derived from it) like the plague for my entire life thanks to a bad experience with the shredded sweetened stuff when i was a kid. a couple of years ago i decided to bite the bullet and try to retrain my palate to appreciate it so i started playing around with various forms bit by bit. wouldn't you know it, i now love coconut and i'm just sorry i missed out on it all those years! (i still won't touch the sweetened shreds, though.) FYI, coconut flour terrific for diabetic-friendly baking, particularly when combined with almond meal.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Well, this is nice to know. I may spring for a can of coconut milk yet. Thanks.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Is that true? Brown pasta is no better than white pasta? Oh no....I thought I found a healthier way to enjoy pasta! Would you please elaborate on this?

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I buy the whole grain pasta, which has as many carbs, but since they are whole grains they burn more slowly. As someone who has to watch carbs, I have found that with the Hodgson pasta I also get a lot of fiber per serving. I just really try to watch my serving size and make sure I don't go overboard when I do eat pasta. Not all "brown" pastas are bad, you just have to watch and read your labels.

                                1. re: kprange

                                  I have come to prefer soba (buckwheat noodles) to most whole grain pasta. Brands vary as to buckwheat-to-wheat ratio but if they are not all buckwheat it is still mostly. Buckwheat is good for people with blood pressure and cholesterol issues. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckwhea...

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    Thanks! I will have to give that a try. I remember my granddad used to make me buckwheat pancakes when I was a kid. They were really good. I will look for the buckwheat pasta.

                                  2. re: kprange

                                    i should have clarified that i was talking about it not being much better for *diabetics* - the difference in how whole grain vs refined pasta can impact blood glucose is pretty minimal for someone who needs to maintain tight control over their levels.

                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                The words, "mechanically separated" regarding ground chicken or turkey must by law appear on the label of the pink poultry spooge.

                        2. re: applehome

                          i agree with Jay - he didn't "go after" Dino or "strong-arm" him, the guy was a willing participant. but as much as i like and respect JO, i was disappointed by his approach for a different reason. it was absurd to try to get them to put a new burger on the menu that would cost them twice as much to make as the others they offer. i think he needs to pay more attention to the reality that fast food is appealing to most people for its VALUE, and that establishments in low-income neighborhoods have to keep prices low because their customers can't *afford* $5 fast-food burgers.

                          i felt bad for the customer they used as a guinea pig. he clearly liked Jamie's burger better, and i got the sense that the reason he said he wouldn't pay for it was because he couldn't afford or justify the expense.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Yes, sad for the guinea pig customer but I think it's important to show what actual food is supposed to cost. If we eat pink slop, of course it's cheaper. It's time to realise that for food to get cheaper and cheaper, there's just gonna be less food in our food.

                            1. re: hillsbilly


                              I cannot drum this into people enough. This is what I tell everyone I know, all the time. I hope it's starting to sink in. I got one of my friends to completely quit buying commercially processed ground beef this year, so all my carping must be doing something.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              But maybe...just maybe...another kind of customer would find the place who would buy a better burger at twice the price. Or maybe the man could open another, better, burger place. I don't feel I know enough to judge one way or the other with true accuracy.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                there is little value to fast food - that is another myth
                                here in canada, a trio at mcdonalds would set you back
                                $8-$9. I can eat fresh meals for a week for $40
                                mcdonalds does so well because people are pigs
                                they have many low income clients because they are
                                uneducated and ignorant.

                                1. re: celfie

                                  "mcdonalds does so well because people are pigs
                                  they have many low income clients because they are
                                  uneducated and ignorant."

                                  Well, that's a value judgement if I ever read one...

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    there isn't nutritional education for low income children - hence jamie's food revolution

                                    1. re: celfie

                                      I believe that full nutritional information for every item is viewable on a large poster at every McDonalds, at least in the USA. They also post the same information on their website.

                                      An interesting fact in that connection: the chart reveals that a Medium McFrappe coffee drink has more calories and more fat than a quarter-pounder with cheese, plus also about 1/3 of a cup of sugar (I converted the listed grams to volume). Milk shakes, by the way, are about the highest calorie single item on the menu.

                                      1. re: celfie

                                        There isn't nutritional education for high income children either, nor was their nutrition education for their parents regardless of their economic status.

                                        Until very, very recently most school districts did not believe nutrition education was their responsibility. The school lunch programs Jaime is railing against have never had a nutrition education component.

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          Well here in Canada there has been a nutritional component in elementary school where they teach the food pyramid and health canada guidelines. there has also been fitness guidelines for elementary school children since the 80s. My work takes me to rural and remote communities where incomes are much lower and the schools/parents are completely ignorant of nutrition. Some of my colleagues regularly do in school and in grocery store interventions to teach parents and children about nutrition. It doesn't matter if the food is labeled with calories/fat, the impact on these nutritionally illiterate people is 0. People are so completely ignorant about nutrition. There is a reason why higher income earners are in better health and have longer life spans.....

                                          1. re: celfie

                                            Either you're very frustrated or you've got little respect for those with whom you are working if you're willing to classify them as illiterate and ignorant on a public forum.

                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              anyone who feeds their children reconstituted chicken nuggets is either nutritionally ignorant, sadistic or lazy - either way, not good. in some grocery store interventions, the health care workers would give free samples of easy snacks like fruit, yogurt and granola - you'd be shocked at how few people had ever even heard of such a thing. In this particular town, the grocery store was on board so they would mark down nutritional snacks and mark up the chips.

                                            2. re: celfie

                                              Your choice of words is fairly appalling. Maybe "undereducated" would better describe the lack of information you refer to. Something about the post smacks of "better than." It's high-handed, and sounds judgemental and unkind. Basically it equates "low income" with ignorance, when the fact is that the majority is woefully short of nutritional information. And then we have the folks who continue to make poor food choices even though they have money, and have been informed, so then what label can we throw at them? "Middle Class and Stupid?"

                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                Yes, I honestly think that you can (and should) label them 'middle class and stupid' or perhaps 'middle class and extremely ignorant'.

                                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                                  Ignorance is not a crime. It's also reversible. That's what JO is trying to do.

                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                    it was in response to "And then we have the folks who continue to make poor food choices even though they have money, and have been informed, so then what label can we throw at them? "Middle Class and Stupid?"

                                                    If you are informed that if you eat one more hamburger you will have a heart attack and you do it anyway you are both ignorant and stupid and likely a lost cause.

                                                    On a side note I fully endorse JO and what he is doing...informing people who for the most part are clueless about nutritional information.

                                                    1. re: kpaxonite

                                                      Human beings do make stupid choices sometimes - about food and all kinds of things. I know I do. Sometimes the "wrong" thing takes seniority for us for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with ignorance or stupidity.

                                                      But I don't actually think we need to throw any label at them. The more people get present to that their choices have an impact, the more likely they are to make better choices. I think the show demonstrated that pretty clearly with both the guy who owned the hamburger stand and the man who was raising his sons alone.

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        So you're saying that in my hypothetical situation the person who eats the burger knowing they will have a heart attack isn't stupid?

                                                        On a second note what is wrong with labels? They exist you can't do anything about it. Some people are rich some are poor, some are smart some are stupid, some people are faithful and others aren't All are labels and everyone fits into certain categories (labels) whether they like it or not.

                                                        1. re: kpaxonite

                                                          You can certainly use labels if you want. They just limit how we see people and the world. No one is stuck just one way. People are amazing in what's possible.

                                                          Re the guy who eats the burger, something was more important to them in that moment (comfort? conformity? availability? hunger? who knows?) than that potential heart attack.

                                                          I make bad choices sometimes. Don't you?

                                  2. re: applehome

                                    Apparently the LA board is willing to work with him now that production on the show has wrapped, as long as the cameras stay out. Can't say I blame them for not wanting to put the kids on camera. It also says a lot about JO motives that he's willing to put in the work without the cameras.


                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                      But is the LAUSD only going forward with that because of the initial show showing the Board president shutting him down? Why couldn't the board have said on camera that they'd work with JO but without cameras filming?

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        the whole situation has been getting news coverage here in LA for a while now, and i've said all along that they'd be better off just letting him in, because the denial just creates more of the drama they claimed to want to avoid. article from this morning's LAT:

                                        my first thoughts were that they specifically chose to let him in on a day when they were preparing something with real chicken instead of mystery meat...and that their claim of serving "healthful" meals is a crock. if he's telling the truth, let's see some ingredient lists and nutritional breakdowns for what they feed those kids.

                                      2. re: mpjmph

                                        I heard a piece on NPR that said the school system was also gunshy because they got socked with a fairly large bill from an unrelated realty show that had they had allowed access.

                                        1. re: Mestralle

                                          this was the other show:

                                          apparently LAUSD got slapped with a bill for over $100,000 for work that wasn't even finished.

                                      3. re: applehome

                                        I agree with your take on Oliver's attitude toward the fast food guy. Oliver just wasn't interested in the real likelihood that the man would go out of business following Oliver's advice. It was snobbish to scoff at the man in complete indifference to the risk he'd run to his family's security.

                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                          I never watched last season and I thought I was going to be pro-Jamie, but that segment at the burger joint just killed my support.

                                          I don't know if it was English vs. American thing, but does Jamie really expect Dino to treat his customers like kids? If I come in and want a ice cream shake(and not that ridiculous smoothie Jamie was trying to pass off as a ice cream shake) with a Revolution burger, is Jamie going to wag his finger at me and tell me I can't eat a dessert if I don't finish my veggies?

                                          I hated everything about Jamie's ideas for that small, family owned business in a working class neighborhood- everything from pricing the place out of its neighborhood to Jamie's insistence that healthier options had to REPLACE unhealthier items instead of being added to the menu board.

                                          Why doesn't Jamie go into a fancy restaurant and make a stink about how unhealthy that food is as well?

                                          We haven't seen much about Jamie's proposals with the LA school district, but if his proposals for school lunches are as daft as they were with Dino's place, I suspect that at best, Jamie isn't going to accomplish much to actually being counter-productive where funding might be pulled because they don't meet USDA regulations.

                                          And, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the school district willing to work with Jamie Oliver- to come in and show them how to make healthier meals within their budget and USDA guidelines but he refused.

                                          I'm sure the school district had some issues that they were embarrassed of but I also think they were wary because they understood too clearly that reality TV thrives on conflict which is the path Jamie and the producers have chosen.

                                          1. re: hobbess

                                            I do get where Jamie is coming from with regard to the horrors that pass for food in schools. His ideas are good ones that I, as a parent, would support. They might not be able to be produced for a comparable budget.

                                            However, if the school district didn't want to create conflict they would have chosen a path of less resistance and brought him in, rather than allow his through-line to be about how stupid, recalcitrant and stubborn the School Board is.

                                            I also didn't understand why healthier options couldn't be added to the menu rather than replace the existing choices. People who have all the information about price, ingredients, calories, etc. are perfectly capable of choosing for themselves.

                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              >>>>I also didn't understand why healthier options couldn't be added to the menu rather than replace the existing choices. People who have all the information about price, ingredients, calories, etc. are perfectly capable of choosing for themselves.<<<<

                                              Last season, when given their choice, most kids opted for the flavored milk, pizza and fries. People don't always make the most sensible choices.

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                i think chicgail was referring to the burger Jamie created for Patra's. but i do understand why he didn't want to add that particular item to the menu...the restaurant is in a low-income neighborhood, and he knows quite well that the majority of his customer base can't - or won't - pay 5 bucks for a burger. so it doesn't make sense for him to shell out the extra money to stock more expensive ingredients that will inevitably go to waste when no one orders the item that contains them.

                                                that's not to say he can't find a way to add *other* healthful items to the menu...just not a 5-dollar burger. the smoothies Jamie made could have been the perfect compromise/first step - keep the milkshakes on the menu, and just add the smoothies as a more healthful alternative for those who want one. if they don't sell, no biggie, because he didn't make a big investment in them or piss off any loyal customers by taking away their milkshake option.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Interestingly, smoothies were our menu item with the highest food cost and had the lowest contribution to margin. We took them off the menu 2 years ago and no one complained.

                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                    i'm sure it depends on the business and what you're paying for ingredients. my point was that if Dino could get a good deal on yogurt and fruit (frozen would be fine for this), he could offer a more healthful menu option that would be far less costly than the burger Jamie proposed.

                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    How much does a burger cost at this place? You'd be hard pressed to buy a burger for the £££s equivalent of $5 in the UK. The absurdly cheap price of meat in the US never ceases to amaze me.

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      well, it looks from the Patra's website like the prices have gone up slightly since they filmed the show...but the most expensive one on the existing menu that was posted on the wall during last night's episode was $4.85... but the regular burger & cheeseburger were under $3 each, IIRC.

                                                      BTW, Patra's website is a spoiler in terms of how much change Jamie was or wasn't able to effect on the place, so don't navigate to it unless you want to know!

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Thanks for heads up on the spoiler--sometimes my fingers get clicky and I ruin things for myself!

                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                        "How much does a burger cost at this place? You'd be hard pressed to buy a burger for the £££s equivalent of $5 in the UK. The absurdly cheap price of meat in the US never ceases to amaze me."

                                                        Having just returned from the UK I can tell you that this statement is false. One night, out and about looking for a quick meal while hitting the pubs, we ducked into a Pakistani fast food restaurant and I got a 1/2 lb cheeseburger and chips for two pounds fifty. That's under $5. Ironically, they had quite a few chicken and lamb pakistani dishes (kabobs and the like) that were all over 6 pounds. I'd have preferred not to get a burger but couldn't justify almost 3x the price.

                                            2. re: applehome

                                              ever hear of corporate responsibility? demand for consumer goods is so artificial and complete manipulated by advertising. the free enterprise argument is so moot.

                                                1. re: applehome

                                                  celfie's point may have a point of view you don't agree with, but it certainly has truth in it.

                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                    I totally agree that in an ideal world, corporations, both big and small, have social responsibility. But that's not how things really work, especially not in the United States of Ayn Rand. Here, it's profit motive, pure and simple. In the real world we live in, the low end of the fast food business is going to sell $2.00 pink splooge burgers, not $5.00 good-for-you burgers. No American businessman operating in that neighborhood, in that marketplace, is going to succeed by grinding his own high-quality meat in expectation of added sales.

                                                    My critique is of Jamie Oliver for the way in which he attacks this problem. It's entirely ludicrous to think that he's going to be productive in any way by asking a small businessman in that marketplace to essentially go out of business by implementing a social conscience. He's living in LA-LA land (working there, anyway...) if he or anybody else thinks that this is a workable tactic.

                                                    Some folks are so ensconced in their ritzy little world of organic locavore foods and good-for-you businesses that they don't recognize the reality of being poor in these great United States.

                                                    Now, schools... that's an entirely different sack of beans, and I admire Jamie for targeting them. Schools are part of the social structure that even some of these right-of-Attiila, small-government bird brains will agree need to be provided with public moneys. In fact, they may be the only place that we (the big social we) can get some nutrition and health care into the poor of this country. I hope he can succeed.

                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                      Some folks are so ensconced in their ritzy little world of organic locavore foods and good-for-you businesses that they don't recognize the reality of being poor in these great United States.

                                                      the ENTIRE POINT of this show is that good for you, local, and organic, doesn't have to be "ritzy" business. healthy food from good sources is completely within reach. jamie kept emphasizing that his meals were on-budget, meaning our schools make a choice to provide high-calorie, nutritionally devoid meals to our children, which sets them up for a lifetime of bad eating habits. the mom they showed even said - they give my kid pizza 3 times a week, what does he want when he comes home? more pizza. schools already get our public money and they choose to serve our kids garbage. how much free choice do you think that leaves the poor, uneducated populations who can't send their kid off to beverly hills high with a box of sushi? practically none. people don't choose bad food only out of ignorance and value, but because they don't want to fight with their kids who have been trained to eat crap, because healthy food is not being made available at a low price point, because it is more time-consuming to shop and prepare for low income families whose moms and dads are already working multiple jobs, and because fast food businesses know to glut low income neighborhoods with their restaurants.

                                                      1. re: tastycakes

                                                        Thank you tastycakes. You spoke for me.

                                                        The shame is that people in inner cities who rely on fast food, don't save any money on it. Fast food is not a bargain compared with healthy food cooked at home. So not only do they substitute being "filled up" with being nourished, they are paying big bucks for it.

                                                        If a Big Mac is @$7 with fries and a big soft drink, and you're feeding 4 people, that's nearly $30 for dinner. Cooking at home doesn't come close to that.

                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                          The shame is that people in inner cities who rely on fast food, don't save any money on it. Fast food is not a bargain compared with healthy food cooked at home.
                                                          you're absolutely right. the problem is that many of them have been misled to believe that fast food *is* a good value. combine that with lack of knowledge about healthful cooking, limited access to fresh ingredients, AND in many cases the lack of time or energy to prepare a nourishing meal for the family...and it all adds up to a family subsisting on fast food and packaged convenience crap.

                                                          heck, there are occasions when i've had to explain to college-educated, upper-middle class people that scratch cooking is more economical than convenience food, and even when i lay it all out for them, some are *still* skeptical.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            This is why I think Jamie's free cooking school is one of the best and most underrated parts of his project.

                                                            Hell, if there were a place like this in my city, I'd totally want to volunteer there to help people learn cooking basics. It's crazy how learning to cook one or two things -- and getting over the fear of cooking -- can make a huge difference in someone's life. I mean, even if you just get a family to eat real pasta instead of Chef Boyardee (which is both gross and full of sugar/salt), it's a step forward.

                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                              Hell, if there were a place like this in my city, I'd totally want to volunteer there to help people learn cooking basics.
                                                              you'd be surprised how difficult it is to get in there to volunteer!! this one *is* in my city, and i couldn't seem to find a way in...

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                Interesting that Jamie's Kitchen is in Westwood, 10 miles and an entire socioeconomic universe away from West Adams Prep. Or do kids go to West Adams from all over LA, and Westwood is simply centrally located?

                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                  no, West Adams is only for kids in a specific area of South LA. but i imagine they chose to put the kitchen in Westwood so that it would be more accessible to families from all over the city. i hate to say it, but if the kitchen was over by the school, they probably wouldn't get many visitors from other parts of town.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    I thought his point, though, was to get the people in that particular neighborhood learning to cook. In the first series, some kids came to Jamie's Kitchen and learned a little cooking (maybe some of the parents, too, though I don't remember exactly).

                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                      well, technically he's already teaching the kids in the culinary arts classroom at West Adams. but if his overall goal is to effect change in the *entire* LAUSD system, he'll likely reach a larger number of families by putting the kitchen in Westwood. i'm still determined to find a way to work with them - supposedly they're opening a permanent one across the street from the space they're using for the show. i *have* to believe that someone i know has a string they can pull for me :)

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        That was the other thing I was thinking of when he was at Jamie's Kitchen, how much I would LOVE to work there.

                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                          well, if i do find a way to wiggle my way in, i'll be sure to report back :)

                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                    what is? that they're opening a permanent kitchen? yeah, let's hope!

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      I meant that they have so much support they're turning away volunteers. But yeah, the permanent kitchen too!

                                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                                        oh, i don't think it's necessarily that they were turning volunteers away...more the standard Hollywood BS of needing to know someone to get you "in" because every out-of-work actor in town probably wanted the gig on the off chance that they might get a few seconds of screen time. but i reached out to a friend who *may* know people who can get me into the permanent kitchen, so we'll see...

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          Oh, that's way less encouraging. But hey, fingers crossed for you!

                                                          2. re: tastycakes

                                                            healthy food is available and it is cheaper

                                                            a little education is all it takes to shift peoples attitudes
                                                            grocery store interventions are shown to work - cooking demo, free sample + take home recipe.

                                                            it doesn't take a genius to buy a can of beans, a bag of whole grain rice, some vegetables and a piece of meat. you can feed a family on that for a few days and it's not exactly expensive.

                                                            it's the transfatty, frozen prepared food that is not economical. people buy that because they are addicted to fatty disgusting junk food

                                                            the only places in north america where you actually cannot get healthy food at fair prices is in northern communities

                                                            and maybe some tiny backwoods towns or reservatons

                                                            1. re: tastycakes

                                                              "the ENTIRE POINT of this show is that good for you, local, and organic, doesn't have to be "ritzy" business. healthy food from good sources is completely within reach. jamie kept emphasizing that his meals were on-budget, meaning our schools make a choice to provide high-calorie, nutritionally devoid meals to our children, which sets them up for a lifetime of bad eating habits"

                                                              Are Jamie's meals really on budget, especially when you factor in the additional labor costs and other costs?

                                                              I didn't watch Season 1 so I don't know if it was ever addressed on the show, but I do remember reading about how none of Jamie's meals were within budget- they were like 2 or 3 X more expensive more than budgeted and TV producers had to step in to make up the difference.

                                                              I'm sure the LAUSD didn't want Jamie Oliver to shine a bright light on them, but I do also recall an interview where the LA administrators said one of the reasons they didn't want to participate was because they called their counterparts in West Virgina who warned them about the financial implications about participation with Jamie Oliver's show.

                                                              And, of course, this is all assuming that Jamie Oliver's meals were meeting the USDA regulations without which those schools could not afford to pay for those meals. Jamie kept on emphasizing that the meals were vetted by a nutritionist, but that does not mean they were in compliance with USDA regulations and I'm more than a bit skeptical that they were.

                                                              When the LAUSD invited Jamie Oliver to come in, without cameras, to help them make healthier meals that were within budget, that would meet USDA regulation, and that would still retain student consumption, I think Jamie refused to do so because of the ban on cameras. But, I also think even Jamie realized how difficult it was going to be to follow the same rules that the schools have to do every day.

                                                              If I had a kid, I wouldn't necessarily want them to eat those school lunches. (I'd pack them a healthier lunch myself just like my parents did.) But, I do think the schools are trying their best with a bad situation where they have to meet all these conflicting regulations within a very limited budget or otherwise lose federal funding.

                                                              1. re: hobbess

                                                                He did go way over budget in the first season, but that's to be expected, given his background. But it looks like he's learned about costing since then -- he doesn't seem to have any issues staying within budget this time around.

                                                                As for the rules, that was also addressed in the first season, and he's probably gotten more used to the rules.

                                                                No one's saying the schools have it easy, what with all those constraints, but the point of the show is to look at how, with a lot of effort and creativity and determination, they can maybe do better with what theyve got.

                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                  But, piccola, if that's the point of the show, then the show is nothing more than a farce.

                                                                  First of all, I'm still skeptical about how on-budget Jamie's meals this season were on-budget and how much they really followed USDA guidelines.

                                                                  If you want to make meals from scratch, then its almost always going to be more expensive because of the labor costs. (And, it will also cost more because the schools have to buy all that equipment to cook the food as well). If you want better ingredients from good sources, then that's going to cost more than commodity goods that the USDA subsidies provide. These are just some of the costs that I'm skeptical how much Jamie really accounted for when he says his meals are on budget.

                                                                  And, that brings up my second point. Its going to take more than just effort, creativity, and determination; its also going to take a lot of money as well.

                                                                  For Jamie's season, that meant the TV producers coming in and covering those costs. Or, take a look at Boulder with Ann Cooper, who's hailed as a hero and a role model because of what she's doing with school lunches.

                                                                  But, to support that, it also required a lot of money from an outside financial support from a fund-raising foundation. And, when that wasn't enough, Boulder had to transfer 600K from their general fund to make up the difference.

                                                                  1. re: hobbess

                                                                    Hobbess, you've hit a lot of nails on the head

                                                                    1. " The labor involved in cooking from scratch." To which I might add - a) whatever labor a school has typically does not have adequate culinary training b) may not be working more than 3 3/4 hours a day and c) is probably unionized, meaning there is a higher base wage, and, possibly benefits to factor in if the employee works over 4 hours/day

                                                                    2. "Schools would have to buy all that equipment". Maybe, maybe not. In the case of LAUSD most of their food is prepped in central kitchens which do have a wide array of commercial equipment, and then some. Old schools tend to have more fully eqipped kitchens because they used to do on-site cooking. Most school districts (at least in CA) tended to purchase large equipment at the top of the line because it had to last a long time. I've seen middle school kitchens with 60 year old ranges and ovens that worked just fine because they were great pieces of equipment when purchased. Newer schools tended to be built with a much smaller kitchen footprint and were designed to be warming kitchens, not production kitchens.

                                                                    3. " Going to cost more than commodity goods". A case of USDA commodities costs $2/case. Those commodities can be diverted to manufacturers to be converted into usable end products which are then sold to the school districts at drastically reduced prices. The USDA also brags about fresh produce distribution program. School districts get little warning that it's coming, sometimes only a couple days notice. What to do when 40 cases (or perhaps 4,000 cases in LAUSDs case) of rock hard pears hit your loading dock and you know they'll be mush in less than a week.

                                                                    4. "Chef Anne". Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. It wasn't only Boulder that got socked with a huge hole in theFood Service budget that the General Fund had to backfill. Berekley, CA also got hit with a huge deficit. Chef Anne does a lot of great things, she's shown it is possible to produce health school meals that kids will eat, has really helped increase public awareness and parental involvement with the school lunch program. What she's been less successful at is finding ways to do it within a school district's budget. The mandate to every director of food service in the State of California is "thou shalt not infringe on the General Fund" because that means less money for the classroom.

                                                                    1. re: hobbess

                                                                      In the UK, Jamie Oliver's campaign got the government to raise the (pitifully low) budget for kid's school meals. Perhaps that's what needs to happen in America too. It also seems that the USDA guidelines can be somewhat ridiculous, and are as much aimed at serving the needs of agribusiness as being nutritionally balanced.

                                                                      1. re: hobbess

                                                                        Those are all good points, and I think what ends up happening -- at least, based on previous seasons -- is that they raise some awareness of how problematic some of those restrictions are and how few resources are traditionally allotted to school meals.

                                                                        In some cases, they manage to make minor changes (though it's unclear how long these last). Obviously, one show isn't actually going to revolutionize the entire food system, but I think it gets the gears going.

                                                                  2. re: tastycakes

                                                                    "high-calorie, nutritionally devoid meals to our children, which sets them up for a lifetime of bad eating habits. the mom they showed even said - they give my kid pizza 3 times a week, what does he want when he comes home? more pizza."

                                                                    In most cases, those kids are bringing their bad food habits with them into the school, and not vice versa.

                                                                    The schools are reimbursed for what the schools actually serve- the more kids that buy those lunches, the more funding the schools get. In response, the schools prepare meals and foods that they know the kids will want to eat. If the kids didn't come to school clamoring to eat pizzas, then the schools wouldn't serve pizzas to the kids at lunch.

                                                                    And, at least, with West Virgina, those pizzas were made with low fat cheese and whole wheat.

                                                                    That's why this report was so troubling:

                                                                    It showed a significant drop in lunch participation and milk consumption by the kids after Jamie's changes, when Jamie's meals were only marginally more nutritious. ( I don't know why flavored milk is verboten with Jamie's claims that it has more sugar than soda- half of that sugar is from lactose in milk before any additional sugar is added in flavored milk)

                                                                    1. re: hobbess

                                                                      Interesting analysis (the WV report). I wonder what was going through the kids' heads. Were they thinking, "This food is supposed to be good for me so it must taste yucky and I won't eat it?" The fact that the adults did not notice any taste difference between the two menus suggests that maybe perception trumped reality here. You're not going to get most kids to eat new foods by telling them, "Here, eat this. It's good for you."

                                                                      The drop in milk consumption could be easily predicted. I still hold with those who would rather see kids drink flavored milk than no milk at all. Some people (the Spouse included) don't get that there are many kids who will choose not to drink at all if the only option is white milk. I speak from personal experience. Most members of my family can't stomach the taste of milk and will not drink it plain.

                                                                      Labor costs-can't argue there. That's purely quantifiable.

                                                                      So yes, the subjective elements of that study to me come down to marketing. The school needs to find a more effective way of communicating to the students that this food actually tastes good. Oh, and bring back the chocolate milk.

                                                          3. re: applehome

                                                            As someone who just went to Patra's for lunch today to support what he was doing (as well as try the burger), I can attest he really hasn't changed his menu. What he did was add the healthy options (and certainly highlight the placement of the Revolution Menu) and is now offering (for an extra .30) 100% Angus Ground Chuck if you want it. The french fry spinner was nowhere I could see, so I wonder how much of the equipment Jamie upgraded he was still using. However, the burger was a solid and healthier option, tasted great and I would definitely go back for more. So I think "strong-arm" maybe too strong of a term. Dino held his own and although I personally would like to see him drop a few of the unhealthy options, if only to say to his community I care about you and your health and yeah we're a business but I can work with you to get us all to a better place, I do give him props for giving it a go. And I know his heart is in the right place. If I've learned anything from Survivor and Idol on down, reality shows are all about the editing and the demons and angels aren't ever as extreme as the producers would have you believe. I understand Jamie's frustration and maybe it came off as directed toward Dino and Patra's in particular but I think it's really frustration toward the broader issue of the McDonalds and Burger Kings and KFCs that are endemic across the country and have fed us a bill of goods on what a good burger is. Can my Dad make a better burger on the grill? absolutely, but for a quickly made, well executed burger on the go, I was pleased. Can we do better? Yes, friends, yes we can.

                                                          4. I watched, and will continue to watch. I'm going to find it interesting to see how he does in Los Angeles with being stymied by the School Board. I'm impressed that he chose to take on such a large school district. The school bus overflowing with processed sugar was a wake-up call. Too bad more parents didn't show up.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              I thought that school bus gimmick was just that - a gimmick. It was a show stopping visual, but what did it really prove? Most Americans ingest too much sugar? Old news. Will it change anyone's actions? Not likely.

                                                              I'm with the camp of parents who would rather give my child chocolate milk than no milk at all. Yes, I'd be happier if the chocolate milk had less sugar in it, but it is low-fat and has calcium and D. I can take sugar out of my child's diet in other places but I can't get the calcium in in other ways. Maybe it's a devil's bargain, but I'm still willing to go along with it.

                                                              I applaud Oliver's goals. His heart is clearly in the right place. It just his techniques that I don't always care for.

                                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                                I truly think that many parents don't have a clue as to what their kids are eating at school or the quality (or lack thereof) of that food. If the school bus gimmick (and last season's dumpster full of fat) shocks them out of their complacency, good on JO for smacking them with the clue-by-four.

                                                                And yes - YOU can take the sugar out of your child's diet in other ways, as you're a responsible parent who would think to do so. But many parents don't even do that. He's trying to get parents to realize the crappy fast food/processed food they've been feeding their kids isn't healthy for them. If that requires a "shock-jock" technique, so be it.

                                                            2. I DVR'd the show & watched it today....interesting show. But I agree with some of the comments on the Fast Food place - I think people get food from those places due to them being inexpensive (cheap?) and fast. So if you raise the food costs, will people still buy it? Many healthy items on FF menus have failed.

                                                              I also have to agree with Dino that a milkshake would have to have ice cream to be a milkshake. While Jamie's drink looked good, IMO it's not a milkshake.

                                                              I hope he can get his message across....it's sad that the food served in a lot of schools is such low-quality.....

                                                              1. http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_1783...

                                                                Pay attention in the link above to the number of meals LAUSD serves every year, it's astronomical. Having worked in 5 K-12 school districts in the State of CA (2 of them very large districts) I can understand why LAUSD did not want the hoopla of a sensationalized reality show in their face. This is a mammoth district, and I happen to think the superintendent was right, Jaime Oliver has an agenda and LAUSD was not going to subject themselves to the attack.

                                                                As a former K-12 director of food service I've seen the system from the inside out and can attest to the fact it's broken, seriously broken. Shaming a district - no matter the size - on national TV isn't the solution. Nor, in the long run will it produce positive and sustained change.

                                                                I enjoyed season 1 of Jaime's show and was mildly amused by the "lunch ladies" and their religious adherence to the rules and regulations. I also felt for the food service director in that district who clearly wanted to say "yes" to many of Jaime's ideas but was shackled by USDA compliance regs, which are, BTW, invasive, extensive and complex. The unreality of that season, and only addressed in passing, was how the district could afford to continue serving Jaime's menus which were far more costly than the reimbursement received.

                                                                School lunch will only change when enough pressure is brought to bear on the USDA and agribusiness is taken out of the equation. An Englishman with a funny accent isn't going to engender much real change, so why should LAUSD expose themselves to the abuse? I've been critical of Child Nutrition programs but in this instance, I have to agree with the stance LAUSD took.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                  for anyone who's interested, a friend whose kids attend LAUSD schools forwarded this to me last week - it's a letter from the Superintendent that was mailed to all the parents after the show aired:

                                                                  my thoughts:
                                                                  good for Cortes for keeping the parents informed, and i'm *so* glad to see that they've banned artificial dyes and added MSG. the only negative thing i'll say about the letter is that boasting about "limiting" sodium to 1100mg PER MEAL is absurd - that's already half of the maximum 2200mg intake recommended for children & adolescents. however, the program at LAUSD does appear to be in better shape than school districts in other parts of the country for the most part.

                                                                  i discovered that they *do* post some nutritional info for their menus online (which i can't believe i didn't think to check in the first place), and they're still way too heavy on the sugar & refined starch. i'm curious about the sodium content too but it's not provided. i *do* give them credit for baking most of the lunch items that are often fried, and for offering whole-grain breads, but the breakfast menu is a bit of a nightmare. and considering that they offer fresh fruit, i don't understand why they also make fruit juice & punch available (i won't even start on the flavored milk issue). there are simple adjustments they could make that would really improve the overall nutritional balance. and honestly, my concern isn't really for kids who get balanced nutrition and *real* food at home...it's for the ones whose parents don't have the knowledge and/or resources to do the same, because they could really benefit from getting nutrient-dense, well rounded breakfast and lunch at school.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Those sodium levels are seriously scary. I understand why they do it, and I doubt there's a great imminent health risk to most kids, but we're just training a whole generation to pour salt on manufactured crap to make it palatable, and that just doesn't bode well for the future.

                                                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                    "I have to agree with the stance LAUSD took.".
                                                                    I don't necessarily agree with that but your post overall hit it on the head. It's politics from the Federal Government all the way down to the LAUSD.

                                                                    It would be interesting, at least for me, to see the political contributions to LAUSD board members from contractors supplying food to the LAUSD. See the re-election rate of someone who takes that battle on.

                                                                    I think it's more of a problem of "psst hey man I'm a small wheel in this machine that can be stomped like a bug" VS "what healthy food ...Your mad."

                                                                    ...not that it makes it right...just saying.

                                                                    1. re: chris2269

                                                                      "It would be interesting, at least for me, to see the political contributions to LAUSD board members from contractors supplying food to the LAUSD. See the re-election rate of someone who takes that battle on."

                                                                      The "contractor" supplying the food to LAUSD is the federal government via the USDA and the USDA Commodities program. If LAUSD did not receive commodity food - at about $2 a case - they could not afford to feed 500,000 meals a day. LAUSD receivsd millions in reimbursement from the USDA for Free/Reduced price meals. The USDA mandates what must be served in order for a meal to qualify as reimbursable. It does almost take a PhD in rocket science to figure out what the real "meal contribution" is for items served.

                                                                      Then, of course, there is the whole network of commodity processors, manufacturers that have braved the guantlet of Byzantine USDA review and acceptance so they could take the USDA commodities destined for schools and convert them into end products. It used to be the schools had to take delivery of the commodity and then send it to the manufacturer, then large districts were allowed to divert it. Now, the USDA diverts it directly to the manufacturer (hello, Tyson) and schools can choose between a range of end products, most of them CN labeled so they count for the allowable "meal contribution". This is a gigantic, BILLION dollar business. The money trail isn't from the local contractor or vendor to the local school board, it's going from the food manufacturer and large agribusiness companies to the USDA to keep the cash cow delivering. If Jaime Oliver was really serious, this is the dynamic he should aim to change, not tilting at a windmill called LAUSD.

                                                                      120 miles south of LAUSD lies SDCS, San Diego City Schools which is almost as big as LAUSD. SDCS has at least been open to discussion with parents and local organziations. Many of the schools already have salad bars (that are, in reality, pretty weak), gardens, fruit trees and local chefs willing to work with a school or two. Most interesting for a jumbo sized district, the food service department recently hired a "farm specialist" whose sole purpose is to work with each K-5 school on the whole farm-to-table concept, improving understanding and acceptance of where food comes from, basic cooking ideas and exposure to a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. Their farmer trading cards featuring local (i.e. within SD county limits) farms and farmers are brillant. Imagine, making farmers cool, what a concept :-). Much to their credit, SDCS has taken a few stabs at purchasing produce locally, and featuring that locally purchased item in their salad bars for the month. SDCS doesn't serve 500,000 meals/day like LAUSD but they're not that far behind. The difference between these 2 very large school districts is that one is openly engaging with it's local community to begin the process of change, the other? Not so much.

                                                                      Like LAUSD the food served in SDCS also comes out of a central production facility and is trucked to schools with no kitchens and 1, maybe 2, employee(s) responsible for setting it up, verifying meal eligibility as students come through the serving line, and then cleaning up. Trying to facilitate any kind of meaningful change with this kind of structure is really difficult. What SDCS is doing differently is attempting to change their system internally, which is the only way a sustainable change is going to happen in Child Nutrition programs. That said, they're making no attempt to deal with grades 6-12. There is a SDCS high school on the college campus on which I sometimes work. I get to see what passes for a school lunch on a fairly regular basis and it's pretty gross, not to mention age inappropriate.

                                                                      But, I've digressed...

                                                                      LAUSD is a self-op district (meaning it's not contracted out to someone like Sodexho, or Aramark), the majority of their food comes to them from the USDA commodity program and manufacturers that are part of that program. There is a distributor in Los Angeles - Gold Star Foods - that distributes solely to school districts all over SoCal. They are distributing USDA finished goods as well as some purchased products (like paper goods and dispoables). Distribution of finished goods is usually on contract and is bid out by a district's purcahsing department every couple of years. If there is collusion going on it isn't between the distributor and the school board, it would be between the purchasing department and the distributor, and that would be uncommon.

                                                                      chris2269, you are correct when you say there is money going to politicians, you just need to shift your focus from the local level to the Federal level. The money agribusiness pours into the USDA is huge and necessarily to the benefit of the consumer, regardless of age

                                                                  3. I guess not too many people actually watched as it has been pulled in favor of encore episodes of "Dancing with the Stars". ABC will give Jamie another chance on Friday nights in June.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Sloth

                                                                      i was sort of wondering why we hadn't seen another episode. for those who are interested, it returns Friday, June 3rd at 9 p.m.

                                                                      1. re: Sloth

                                                                        I was also wondering why it wasn't on.....figured it had something to do with "Spring Break" or something....go figure....

                                                                        1. re: jenscats5

                                                                          Hmmm...my dvr says it's on tonight.

                                                                          1. re: donovt

                                                                            My dvr is a liar, it recorded dancing with the stars.

                                                                        2. re: Sloth

                                                                          I wasn't a huge fan of the show as I found Jamie to be a bit condescending. But as I sit here with all of the DWTS stuff I saw already last night, I'm really wishing it was on.
                                                                          And thanks, ghg--I'll tune in then. Friday night tv is garbage right now.

                                                                          1. re: Sloth

                                                                            Though I'd rather eat at McDonald's than watch one of those stupid dancing shows, Friday night at 9 is a better time, as Jamie's currently on opposite GLEE.

                                                                            1. re: Sloth

                                                                              I must admit that this had me wondering if it was REALLY a sweeps issue (as ABC would have us believe) or more because of the controversy surrounding the show. I find it interesting how people get so riled up over Jamie Oliver...and how they find him "annoying" and all sorts of other obnoxious adjectives. I like the guy...yes, he's abrasive...but he's also telling the truth. Nutritional education in our schools is non-existent...as is good nutritional value in school lunches. (And remember, for some of these kids the school lunch may be the only "real" meal they get all day). I applaud him for trying and for speaking out. Sometimes you HAVE to be obnoxious to be noticed. And I find it very interesting how much the school system wanted to shut him up. Whenever people get paranoid about something like that all I can think of is "follow the money". I wonder if there is more than just cost of the food involved here....maybe by using certain foods the school system is getting help in balancing the budget? Just sayin'
                                                                              btw, my favorite line in the entire show was when he was shut out of the school and he said something like "Your people fought my people so that they could have free speech and I can't come talk to students about what they eat??" lol....ouch. Truth hurts sometimes, huh?

                                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                btw, my favorite line in the entire show was when he was shut out of the school and he said something like "Your people fought my people so that they could have free speech and I can't come talk to students about what they eat??" lol....ouch. Truth hurts sometimes, huh?
                                                                                i loved that one too :)

                                                                            2. The show was on from 8-10 last night - apparently they are repeating the previously-broadcast episodes before beginning to air the rest of the season's unseen shows. I hadn't seen them before. He did wind up getting cuts of meat that allowed Patra's to have patties costing only 10cents more than the owner , whose name seems to be Demo, not Dino, is paying for splooged patties.

                                                                              Playing devil's advocate here: the mechanical separation of meat does not particularly bother me. It's not pretty, but neither is sausage-making. Extracting as much meat as possible from the animal should be desirable both on economic and ethical terms. Small amounts of bleach and ammonia used to decrease food contamination seem not to be perceived by our taste buds, nor to cause harm, though a non-chemical means of killing bacteria would be preferable. I have been grinding my own beef ever since reading about the splooge a few years ago, because I can afford to pay a little extra (albeit not enough to buy free-range, grass-fed) and don't like the idea of the ammonia - but it does not seem that the splooge is inherently unhealthy. Maybe I've missed some of the details and have the wrong impression. In the case of Mr. Oliver's crusade, the sugar and sodium concern me far more than the meat.

                                                                              I agreed with Patra's owner that it was wrong to call Mr. Oliver's smoothie a shake, which is tantamount to calling hushpuppies french fries. But I think he didn't want to offer it to begin with, and the terminology issue was a convenient excuse.

                                                                              Inherently frugal as I am, I disapproved of the school bus stunt. It wasted, literally, tons of sugar (maybe they subbed salt, which would not be AS bad) and the equipment and clean-up
                                                                              has to have cost thousands of dollars which could have been put to better use in his training kitchen. A much smaller visual could have conveyed the same message - like a child-sized mannequin in a clear lucite silo into which a proportionate amount of sugar was dumped.

                                                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                  Pretty good! This kind of answers one of the points that's been brought up before:

                                                                                  "As far as I'm concerned, we just made an incredible documentary with big stunts. Why do we do big stunts? Because a lot of the information we work with is bloody boring. And I don't expect any public, let alone the Americans, to be remotely interested."

                                                                                2. I only caught the last half hour of last night's season finale. The decision to stop serving flavored milk seems like it may be the only concrete change, unless I missed something. He may have set some of the participating students on a path to healthier eating and to careers as professional cooks, baby steps I do not disregard, but my impression was that Mr. Oliver had more impact in Huntington, WV, than in LaLaLand.

                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    Might well be that it's easier for a celebrity like Jamie to get some attention in West Virginia as opposed to LA, where celebrities are a dime a dozen.

                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                      The new LAUSD superintendent may do more over time. He's certainly shown a more open mind than his predecessor. I've always thought that all it takes is one asshole in the right spot (not always the top) to muck up an organization, and that was certainly the case here. Being more concerned with your image on TV than the health of the kids you are responsible for makes you a major asshole in my book.

                                                                                      I was really glad to see last week's visit to the Santa Barbara school, to see an example of where the healthy eating (and growing) process has really taken hold. I've read about all kinds of other initiatives, especially Alice Water's Edible Schoolyard for a while, but to see a process established and working smoothly, beyond one person's dream, funded well, and with community understanding and support - that was interesting. Obviously, LA isn't Santa Barbara. But maybe there's hope.

                                                                                      I was glad to see Jonathan Waxman and Michael Symon supporting Jamie's efforts.

                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                        he decision to stop serving flavored milk seems like it may be the only concrete change, unless I missed something.


                                                                                        the changes go beyond the milk, but you wouldn't know that unless you read the local paper...


                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          Thanks for that link. The opening and photo seemed alarming (logistics for raw fish in an entire district would be challenging, not to mention getting kids to try it), but of course what they really put on the menu is the California roll, which does not contain raw fish. I have a friend in Santa Barbara, so I know that it does have low and middle income residents, but it is largely a high-income area which must have better-funded schools than the national average. Where space (even container gardening) and climate allow, getting children involved in growing some of the food in the lunch program kills two birds by providing both ingredients and incentive to eat what's prepared from what the kids produce. Not as feasible, though, in northern states where most of the growing season coincides with school vacation. You'd need something like free summer day care and lunch in exchange for kids volunteering to tend the gardens. It would be useful learning but I can just imagine the bureaucratic hurdles involved. "The Victory Garden" would need to pick up where Jamie Oliver left off.

                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                            i'll bet the vast majority of residents in other states have no idea that the poverty rate here in LA County is higher than the national average...the only frame of reference for most people is the glitz & glam of celebrity they see in entertainment media.

                                                                                            i absolutely agree with you about the challenges of making it happen in states where the climate isn't conducive to growing produce for much of the year. but what i find truly horrifying is the fact that in a place like LA where we *do* have access to glorious fruit & vegetables 365 days a year, so many kids who live only a few miles from some of the best farmers' markets in the country don't grow up eating fresh produce, and probably wouldn't know a spinach leaf or eggplant if it jumped off the plate and bit 'em.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              The Santa Barbara high school, Carpenteria, isn't going to be replicable for most schools in this country just because of the favorable growing conditions that that school enjoyed. (In response to similar questions about other parts of the country following SF's local, seasonal matra, Alice Waters' response is that its possilbe even in winter in places like Chicago and NYC- you've just got to plan ahead and pickle and can veggies, eat root veggies, grow food in greenhouses and hoop houses,etc...)

                                                                                              Instead, the real obstacle for other schools is that Carpenteria was the beneficiary of the generosity of the Orfalea Foundation, which has Kinko money behind it, to support and fund organizations mostly located in Santa Barbara County. The Ofralea foundation paid for that organic garden, trained the workers in the kitchen how to cook from scratch, bought new kitchen equipment, etc.. At a time when schools are laying off teachers, how many are going to have the resources to hire a farmer for the organic garden which the Ofralea foundation did for Carpenteria?

                                                                                              I believe Jamie Oliver deserves some credit for raising awareness, but I also believe he squanders and wastes it with what he does with this public platform. He goes after and demonizes those with the least power to do something- the lunch ladies and mid-level bueracrats- instead of really doing something. Jamie Oliver is like the obnoxious guy at the airport screaming at the middle aged lady at the counter because the flight gets delayed due to poor weather.

                                                                                              If all you knew about reforming school lunches was from watching this show, you'd think that all it took was a bit of ingeunity and hard work from to deliver organic, fresh scratched food to kids. But, Jamie Oliver never points out the difficulty in doing that within the regulations and budget that these schools face.

                                                                                              In Season 1, the producers had to step in behind the scenes to cover those costs. In Season 2, he was using the West Adams culinary students to cook those meals but what does that prove- he was esssentially using 'free' labor vs schools that have to pay union kitchen workers. And, now, he's holding Carpenteria as what other schools can do even though those schools will never get those same resources because they're not located in Santa Barbara.

                                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            Just to clarify, in case anybody else misunderstood goodhealth's link like I initially did, but those changes were already underway under the previous administration of Ramon Cortines, even though Cortinez is portrayed as Evil Incarnate for not allowing cameras onto campus.

                                                                                            Some people want to call Cortinez names because he was "more concerned with your image on TV than the health of the kids you are responsible for makes you a major asshole in my book."

                                                                                            But, doesn't that apply to Jamie Oliver as well? Cortinez had invited Oliver to come into the schools and work with them to improve the school lunches but Oliver refused if Oliver couldn't bring the cameras with him. On one of the episodes, Oliver said something to the extent that if there's no cameras, then there's no show or no point in doing this show.

                                                                                            If Oliver really cared this much about the children instead of producing a reality TV show, he should have accepted the offer or gone to a school district that he knew would have willing to work with Oliver under Oliver's conditions instead of vice versa.

                                                                                            With the way this show was centered on the drama about not allowing the cameras, I can't blame the school district about being wary with working with Oliver. If the cameras had been allowed in, the show would have had to find some other drama to drive the show even if it was made up or edited to the degree that it was very misleading at best because otherwise, the show would be 'bloody boring.'

                                                                                            Superintendent Deasy gets a favorable edit because he allowed cameras in and agreed to drop flavored milk but I'm not ready to say if he's really an improvement over Cortinez instead of just being more PR savvy. There's a strong argument about flavored milk where you can't really say its a slam dunk to remove it- a lot of reputable organizations and nutrionists actually are against that ban of flavored milk.

                                                                                            Is Deasy dropping flavored milk because he's really against it, or did he read the tea leaves and know that it was better PR to cave in? Or, will he bring back flavored milk once the cameras leave like West Virgina did?

                                                                                            1. re: hobbess

                                                                                              Good point, about the edits making the drama. Nevertheless, a person in this position (even if he's unjustifiably attacked by a TV show) has the primary job of protecting the kids. How do you interpret the best way to do this as publicly opposing an even supposed do-gooder? If you were in fact already considering making some healthful moves, why wouldn't you at least release some information, if not go on TV, to say that these things were already being looked at? The difference between Cortinez and Deasy may indeed just be how they handle publicity, but that's a major part of the job.

                                                                                              My take on the healthy school lunch program is that it started with some well-intentioned heroes - people working locally to improve conditions. But with all such endeavors, to become more universal and accepted as part of the social norm, it needs publicity and the help of the kind of people - assholes, if you will, like Jamie, to provide a more national spotlight. Jamie may have been doing this for money or fame - I doubt it, but I don't know. But it was on network TV, and it raised awareness in ways that a newspaper column or even a Frontline documentary couldn't.

                                                                                              This fight is a microcosm of the entire slow foods/sustainability fight that we're going to be having for a long time. The factory foods industry, especially since WWII, has created a worldwide monster - a real, core cause of Heart Disease, Diabetes, and God only knows what else. But it's also created the technology we need to feed the world. American GMO corn, complete with Roundup, and American CAFO meat, full of antibiotics will, like it or not, provide a path to solving world hunger. The free enterprise that comes with it means that its going to often come in the form of a new neighborhood McDonald's or centralized kitchen pre-prepared school lunches. It's going to be very hard to teach the people of the world that this magic pile of cheap calories isn't always going to be the best thing to jump into. That's why Jamie is a good guy in my book, and Cortinez? Well... maybe asshole is too harsh - but at the very best, he appears to be ineffective.

                                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                                But, maybe Cortinez really did believe he was protecting the kids by not getting involved with Jamie Oliver's program.

                                                                                                If we're going to talk ineffective, look at what happened to West Virigina school- the costs spiralled out of control, lunch participation and milk consumption plummeted, the kids hated the new menu, and that school district at one point was afraid they might lose federal funding all for the sake of a new menu that had its own problems with meeting nutritional guidelines.

                                                                                                Fortunately, for West Vigina, the producers of the show stepped in and helped pay for those costs. But, LAUSD is much, much larger with a lot more students. The producers in Season 1 could afford to step in and pay those costs, but if the same thing happened on a larger scale at LAUSD, I don't know if the producers could have done the same thing and so the LAUSD would have been stuck with this huge bill at the same time they're already facing immense financial pressures.

                                                                                                nd, Cortinez did release that information about those changes but it was in a letter to the parents whose children are enrolled in LAUSD. From an PR point of view, it would have been more effective to have made the same points on TV but it would have been edited to still make him look like a bad guy like they tried to do with Dino.


                                                                                                In that letter, he outlined the conditions under which he would have allowed Jamie Oliver to come into the schools such as a detailed propasal about what Oliver wanted to do on-site which seems like a very approriate request to me. And, it wasn't like Cortinez rejected it once he found out what Oliver wanted to do because Jamie Oliver never responded by sending in a writtern proposall or menu.

                                                                                                That wasn't surprising when you read the LAWeekly interview with Oliver where he explained " I don't like planning stuff anyway. I'll buy stuff for the day and cook whatever feels right. And people don't like that. That's why I work with people who are more renegade." and "I didn't know what I was doing from six hours to the next."

                                                                                                If you were Cortinez, would you really want to entrust somebody who seems a bit too irresponsible and flaky, somebody who seemed all too ready to move onto his next big project while you're stuck with the mess and bill he left behind?

                                                                                                1. re: hobbess

                                                                                                  I appreciate the info and your position. I know that Cortines just had another bill, about $100,000 from what I read, left over from another TV show, so certainly he had reason to be careful. Interesting that Deasy was the deputy to Cortines - he must have learned from his boss' mistakes. I still believe that Jamie did end up doing more good than bad. In any case, he's moved on to his pub recipes back in England.

                                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                                    Deasy seems like he's more PR savvy, where he was able to give the appearance that he was more concerned or open-minded without actually having to do much more.

                                                                                                    Other than dropping flavored milk, Oliver's pet cause, how much more did Deasy actually do?

                                                                                                    Deasy let cameras into West Adams' kitchen, but not the LAUSD's central kitchens where, to paraphraze Otto Von Bismark, the sausage gets made.

                                                                                                    And, I re-read Cortinez's letter and the ban about cameras was actually only limited to the menu committee, nothing about banning cameras in the central kitchens or the schools themselves. (And, the menu committees would have probably been so boring that I doubt that Oliver would have showed much footage of it even if he had been given permission to film it.)

                                                                                                    If Oliver had agreed to submit a written proposal and menus, Oliver could have gotten enough footage to film the show and maybe even had more access than which he was granted in the final show.

                                                                                                    Deasy unveiled the new menu for next year, which the show seems to imply that Oliver was responsible for pushing those new changes. But, those menu changes like the roasted vegetable quesedilla with chopped cilantro were already underway when Cortinez was in charge.

                                                                                                    These changes to the menu take a fairly long time, not the few weeks in which Deasy was in charge. You've got to make sure you can get the supplies in the amount you need to first having a few students sample them to see if they'll eat it, etc..

                                                                                        2. Whether or not LAUSD adopts permanent beneficial changes, it seems that things are not going to improve for low-income Americans in general. The mods deleted a new post I made today with links to 1) info on Congress's passing of a bill to slash support for food stamp use at farmer's markets, and 2) a proposal to allow food stamps to be used at fast food chains.

                                                                                          Maybe Mr. Oliver should set up shop in the Capitol rotunda (irony intended)

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                            Re-post please I would love that info. (my brother and sister in law are on food stamps) Just maybe post the links below and lets see what happens.

                                                                                            what tread was it in? or did you start a new one? Seems at least they should of moved it rather than getting rid of it.

                                                                                            Personally I think it fits this thread based on what the show is about.