Culinary show seeks to change eating habits

Chef Jamie Oliver premiered his ABC show Food Revolution on Friday.

In the six-part series, he’ll attempt to transform the school lunch menus and eating habits of the people in Huntington, W. Va., which was named the unhealthiest city in America.

“I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food,” Oliver said on his Web site. “Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It’s time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food.”

Oliver reinvented the British school cafeteria food with his U.K. series, Jamie’s Ministry of Food and Jamie’s School Dinners, which resulted in the total overhaul of the school food program in the U.K.

Oliver is now tackling schools in U.S. by persuading people of all ages to eat balanced meals and cook with fresh ingredients. In the series, Oliver plans to create a positive change that will hopefully inspire the entire country.

“There’s an incredible community in Huntington, and I want this experience to be a celebration of what we can achieve when people come together.” Oliver said on the ABC Web site.

Food Revolution resembles other reality shows on ABC such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Super Nanny, but unlike the typical heartwarming show where everything gets resolved for the better, the show is more of a continuing challenge. Even the smallest victories will seem like a large step in the progression of a healthier country.

Oliver faced controversy while in Huntington due to his methods of trying to prepare school lunches from scratch instead of serving students the same easily prepared meals out of frozen boxes. While Oliver fights for his passion of helping people and demanding change, the lunch ladies that he is teamed up with are so stuck in their methods that they take more than a little convincing. Completely changing meal plans means more hard labor, which is not something the lunch ladies agree on.

The show takes on a complex issue that most people recognize, but not all are willing to change. For Oliver to help members of the Huntington community become aware of the amount of fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories that they consume on a daily basis, he literally dumps the pounds and pounds of fat near the school playground.

When faced with it, parents, teachers and students begin to realize the immense amount of junk that they put in their bodies and recognize Oliver’s efforts.

The show maintains a simple enough concept, but transforms the simplicity into one man on a mission to engage big concerns for the American people. So the big question remains: Will Oliver be able to turn a nation of over-eaters into a nation that can moderate themselves and actually enjoy a healthy meal?

Oliver’s mission is to start with Huntington and then progress to the rest of the U.S.

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