Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution won an Emmy this past Saturday at the Creative Arts Emmy Ceremony in Hollywood. Oliver, a British celebrity chef turned health activist, has used the success of his show to publicize the launch of his petition to change the menus in public school lunch halls and reign in the obesity epidemic.
Oliver tweeted, “I can’t believe we won the Emmy! Thanks to everyone that signed the petition, 650,000 of you.”
His show defeated the likes of Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, and Antiques Roadshow to claim the title of Outstanding Reality Program.
His show focused on changing the eating habits in Huntington, West Virginia, which has deemed the most obese city in America by the Federal Government. He centered his fight on the school lunch program and infamously tried to explain to local officials that French fries don’t count as vegetables.
He also showed his 7.5 million viewers what plus-size coffins look like and opened up a community kitchen to continue teaching local families about alternatives to fast food and TV dinners. He made parents and school administrators aware of unhealthy ingredients in the food their children were consuming. The program included extensive coverage at Huntington High School and Central City Elementary School, where most children couldn’t identify a tomato.
Even though his show only consisted of six episodes, it gathered a significant following. He won the prestigious 2010 TED Award earlier this year. TED is a non-profit community of some of the world’s most influential “thinkers and do-ers”. Past award recipients include Bono and Bill Clinton. With the award, he won a $100,000 donation towards his current projects as well as one “wish” that the TED community pledged to help make a reality.
“I wish for the TED community to create a movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again, and bring people together everywhere to fight obesity,” said Oliver. “My hope is that millions more people will learn, as so many have already, that it is a happier, healthier life that is built around eating good food, together with family and friends.” He laid out a number of different steps towards making this a reality. These include mobilizing a theater group to travel around the country and teach children about eating healthy.
Part of Oliver’s revolution includes a petition he is circulating around the nation that he hopes will eventually improve the U.S. school lunch system. It has already garnered support from celebrities such as P. Diddy, Wendy Williams, Randy Jackson, Dr. Drew, Heidi Klum, Kate Goslin, Heidi Montag, Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Beiber, Whoopie Goldberg, Larry King, Adam Lambert, and Jennifer Aniston. The petition can be signed here.
Oliver’s website includes details of the petition, his successful school lunch overhaul in England, and his efforts in Huntington. He advocates for healthy home cooking, and a revamped school lunch program.
While promoting fresh home cooking, Oliver also emphasizes the importance of food safety precautions. He has published numerous articles and videos on his website that are designed to teach people about the importance of cooking safely in the home. Some of these include articles on how to safely freeze homemade food, how to prevent cross contamination, and directions on how to prepare meat safely.
In an article titled “Chopping Boards” he says, “I can only speak from my own personal experience but I use wooden chopping boards for all my fruit & veg and only ever use a plastic chopping board for meat & fish. The reason for this is the plastic board does not absorb like wood and can be cleaned better.”
Additionally, his website includes healthy sample lunch menus and home cooking guides.
Oliver’s supporters hope that the recognition that comes with this Emmy award will only progress his efforts to bring about change to America’s food system and general eating habits.