Oliver goes to 'war' on Friday for good food
MAKING an omelette may not sound like a revolutionary idea. The basic egg dish, however, is at the heart of what celebrity chef Jamie Oliver calls Food Revolution Day, which he is hosting globally on Friday.
"This ultimate fast food can be a perfectly balanced nutritious meal, depending on what you put in it," said the British TV chef, restaurateur and author.
Making good food choices has become Oliver's clarion call. While his healthy-eating crusade has been focused on home cooking, it promotes a way of thinking that makes consumers smarter about what they eat in restaurants too.
Oliver, whose restaurant network has grown to more than three dozen eateries worldwide, is staging an array of events this weekend, including "schools cooking our recipes, ambassadors hosting cooking classes and pop-ups featuring our recipes".
At 5pm on Friday, he will kick-start a relay of live videos on his Facebook page with cooking, advice, debate and fun. Then, he hands over to teams in 10 other countries across six continents.
Each country - Australia, India, the United States, Kenya, Canada, Tanzania, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Brazil - will host its own event with famous culinary faces and celebrities throughout the day.
"We'll be broadcasting to people all over the world, demonstrating how important good food and cooking skills are in the fight against diet-related disease," said Oliver.
The chef famously began a campaign to ban unhealthy food in British schools and to get children to eat nutritious food instead. His efforts helped changed the types of food served in schools.
A similar campaign in the US was less successful, and he has expressed dismay at how newly affluent youth in China and India have embraced Western-style fast food, as well as the well-documented rise in obesity and diabetes in both countries.
"The lack of food knowledge and cooking skills is having a really negative impact on our health and life expectancy," he said of British families.
"For the first time in history, younger generations are expected to live shorter lives than their parents, because of poor diet and a lack of food skills."
An American fan of Oliver's, Lindsey Shifley, became concerned when her daughter Abbie lost interest in school.
In a posting on Oliver's foodrevolutionday.com, she recalled making the decision to eliminate "fake food ingredients" from her daughter's diet.
Packaged and processed foods, she said, had become 90 per cent of the family's diet.
"To everyone's shock, Abbie became symptom-free in under three weeks. She began to blossom in school and, ultimately, she completed her 1st grade year exceeding expectations."
Ms Shifley now acts as an ambassador for Oliver's eat smart campaign.
Problems like Abbie had are preventable, said Oliver, who hopes Friday's events will excite viewers around the world to make healthy choices about the food they eat.
THE CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK