Well, apparently whilst the editors were piecing together five episodes of Jamie Oliver and his pedantic whining, the producers were working their butts off to at least put together a decent finale. And finally we have the first episode of the second season that didn’t make me want to wring Jamie Oliver’s neck! And it’s the last one!
Jamie finally looks to food education, and giving the students of Los Angeles knowledge of how to cook. Bingo, Jamie! Yes, school lunches are terrible, but a HUGE part of the gap, especially in L.A. is knowledge and education.
The show has a new corporate sponsor to support the overhead of a multi-school cooking competition (which includes a trip to New York to the Culinary Institute of America for four students): Green Giant. Normally I would roll my eyes, but I am actually a big fan of Green Giant’s frozen, steamable vegetables, so I’m surprisingly ok with it. If we’re going with lesser of evils when it comes to American corporations producing packaged food, I’ll take frozen veggies over pretty much anything else. (so you win, Green Giant, in terms of gratuitous product mentions and positive publicity!)
We also see some of the lead-in to the other week’s decision to get rid of flavored milk in the LAUSD, with an independent group of parents protesting outside the district office. Jamie meets with the new superintendent of schools, who clearly sees a great opportunity to start off his term with some positive publicity. (it worked) He humors Jamie, and as recent policy changes show (getting rid of milk + breaded, fried foods), makes some changes. Watching, it does seem like things were in motion BEFORE Jamie showed up, so I do buy the LAUSD’s claim that the positive changes aren’t because of Jamie Oliver… but I’m sure the pressure from his show helped a bit.
That said, it’s still more of the same: Jamie Oliver dumbsplaining to the Americans. Srsly: how many times can he pat himself on the back for being the Food Martyr of America (he’s not) because we are Too Dumb To Know About Food?
And overall, that is my problem with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I was with him for Jamie’s School Dinners, where he was changing a system in a country with which he was intimately familiar. He was and his show was just so English, and it worked.
But Jamie is not American, and despite being an apparently decent chef, is not clued in to the intricacies and deeply complex issue of food, nutrition and obesity in America… or regulations, budgets and finances here. You know who needs a show? Michelle Obama. Sorry, Jamie: Michelle does it better.
There’s no word yet on whether Jamie will have another season. A year ago, I would have been upset to see Food Revolution cancelled. Now I don’t particularly care, either way. It’s kind of sad, really.