Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
Original Air Date: Apr 9, 2010
JD – Associate Staff Writer
Okay, so I’m late to the party, just stepping in to recap and review this at the halfway point. I suppose it’s better late than never, though, and I think this show is an important one for us to cover. The show is entertaining, yes, but it matters too. Oh God, guys, I’m getting all serious about this one. Call a doctor. Or a priest. Or I could just get on with this recap.
So what have I missed recapping so far? Jamie brought his food revolution to Huntington, West Virginia, which a recent study determined was the most unhealthy place in the United States. He first brought his ideas to the elementary school where children were eating pizza for breakfast, and couldn’t tell you what a tomato was. He ran into resistance with the cooks, but was eventually allowed to expand his program to the high school as well. The cooks there were more accepting, and Jamie put together a little band of students willing to fight for his cause. The schools say they need $80,000 to train the cooks to be able to implement Jamie’s ideas, so Jamie holds a fundraiser dinner, and in a rather ballsy leap of faith decides to get his band of students to cook the meal. With some shaky beginnings, it all turns out wonderfully, and last week’s episode ended with a really touching display as the teenagers explained their very personal reasons for being involved with Jamie’s vision to those attending the dinner. I admit, I cried. Then I watched it a second time, and cried again.
That pretty much brings us up to speed for this episode. This week, Jamie takes on one of his biggest critics, Rod, the local DJ at the biggest radio station in town. So we start with a bet. Jamie goes on Rod’s radio show again (he’s gone several times before), and is shut down by Rod. Not for the first time. Rod tells Jamie he doesn’t trust him or the show, thanks Jamie for coming, and that’s that. But as Jamie says goodbye, he bets Rod he can get 1,000 people to come through his kitchen (which he’s set up in town to provide free cooking lessons to the community) in a week, and if he does, Rod will start supporting him. They make the bet. Rod is unimpressed, but Jamie is hoping for the best.
Jamie sets off to get publicity going for the kitchen, doing television shows and radio interviews. Meanwhile Rod is on his radio show telling people not to go to Jamie’s kitchen, to stay home. It seems to work at first, when Jamie spends the first day of the bet wandering around his kitchen, waiting for people that never come. But of course, Jamie comes up with a brilliant idea. He heads to Marshall college and organizes a flash mob. Yeah, I’d never heard the term either, but it basically means to cause a big commotion in a common area to get people’s attention. Jamie got a load of Marshall’s students to perform a dance in the center of school, while Jamie and others cooked along with it. It was, honestly, pretty awesome, guys. And it worked out well because all the students who watched it and participated were really pumped about the idea once it was over.
All the effort Jamie put into promoting the kitchen paid off the next day when Jamie held a cook-a-thon in the street outside his kitchen. A ton of people showed up to learn to cook, and Jamie took them all through a quick stir fry, about 45 people at a time. Of course, Rod shows up. He refuses to cook with the group when Jamie offers, and is surprised by how many people have shown up. He still doubts Jamie will get 1,000 people, and at this point, so does Jamie, but at least he’s getting people out to cook and learn.
The next day Jamie heads to a steel plant and gets a group of men there to cook, all while Rod is slagging him off on his radio show. It seems that while Jamie is upping his game, so is Rod. Jamie just keeps plugging away regardless of what’s being said about him on the radio. Finally, though, Jamie sees that he has to get Rod involved to win the bet, so he takes Rod on a little field trip. They visit a mortuary where Rod sees just how large caskets have become and hears all the consequences of that, like how the caskets won’t fit in the hearse, the family will have to buy two burial plots, and that cremation isn’t an option because the body basically consumes itself in the flames. Then Jamie takes him back to the kitchen to talk with some of the people who have been personally affected by the problem. Brittany, who made me cry last week, tells her story of how she’s been told she only has 5-7 years left to live if she doesn’t get her weight under control. I nearly cried again. For a girl in her teens to have to deal with that is horrible. Rod seems very affected by one of the stories, and Jamie thinks it’s all starting to sink in.
And sink in it does. The next morning when Jamie shows up in the kitchen, the room is already full. There are television reporters there, and Rod, who’s brought his radio crew and is broadcasting live from the kitchen, encouraging people to come and cook. Good Morning America came, and so did the governor. The governor shows a boatload of support for Jamie, and Jamie takes the final group of people to complete his 1,000. He finishes off with cooking at Rod’s side. Aw, happy ending.
I love this show. Obviously I do, since I got sucked in enough to want to start doing these recaps and reviews. This episode was a great display of Jamie’s enthusiasm. That was a hell of a bet to make, and then to pull it off seemed nearly impossible. But Jamie made it work, and he had some fun doing it. I wish I had been there at that flash mob. Of course the fun didn’t take away from the seriousness of the issue, though. I couldn’t believe what Jamie showed Rod at the mortuary. This show gives me chills sometimes.
So what did you guys think? Give me your two cents! (And if you support Jamie, go sign his petition at his website!)