English chef Jamie Oliver has recently amplified his media personality through a campaign called ‘Food Revolution Day’ that aims to put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum. At first glance, no one can argue that Jamie is doing this for egocentric or immoral reasons. In 2008, Jamie became a popular household name. With this status came a general consensus of ‘at least he’s doing something’; in relation to his series Jamie’s Ministry of Food. This introduces a key development into Jamie Oliver’s campaign for the education of school children; when did Jamie shift from a lifestyle expert to a moral entrepreneur (Hollows & Jones, 2010, p. 1). Jamie’s Food Revolution Campaign touches on many serious issues surrounding school food and education of food in the school system. These issues range from overuse of processed food, lack of funding and French fries being considered a vegetable. However, through close analysis of the Campaign and taking into account the actual results and reviews of Jamie’s ABC television series Food Revolution, it is clear that it is an abject failure- as in it did not set out to do what it was originally intended to. The issues on the show were all reduced to individual stories and choices, unable to deal with complexities or systematic issues (Gupta 2010). What keeps the viewer wanting more are the staples of reality television, as personal dramas, conflicts and sad moments make for an entertaining viewing experience. The same is said for Jamie’s Food Revolution website in regards to the extent in which change is foreseen. Jamie notes that there are things we can do in our personal lives such as challenge your work colleagues to a cook off, host a dinner party and try a new ingredient and make a meal from scratch. These acts (all asked to be done with Jamie’s recipes) are absolutely harmless. However there are limitations in regards to this. The foremost reason being expenses. In no way am I excusing the overweight population for their decisions, but the majority of time their reasoning for their alarming diets are costs of healthy and organic food. An obese co-worker will not spend a week’s grocery bill on the many ingredients used in a Jamie Oliver recipe, they will opt for simple takeaway. A working mother will tend not to cook every meal from scratch with a fresh farmers market ingredient, she will make something less time consuming. In this sense, although Jamie’s campaign is commendable in his efforts to make a difference, the more it is analysed the more it falls apart at the seams.
Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Food Revolution Day 2015, Food Revolution Day, viewed 25/08/2015 <http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/#dMCeMo04suGXjvGW.97>
Gupta, A 2010, ‘How TV Superchef Jamie Oliver’s ‘Food Revolution’ Flunked Out’, Alternet, 7 April, viewed 25/08/2015 <http://www.alternet.org/story/146354/how_tv_superchef_jamie_oliver%27s_%27food_revolution%27_flunked_out>
Hollows, J & Jones, S 2010 ‘’At least He’s Doing Something’: Moral Entrepreneurship and Individual Responsibility in Jamie’s Ministry of Food’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 13, no. 3, pp 207-322