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Jamie Oliver reduced to tears (and so are the Americans as they reject his healthy eating advice)



By David Gardner

Last updated at 6:19 PM on 23rd March 2010




Jamie Oliver knew it wasn't going to be easy changing the eating habits of the unhealthiest city in America.

But he was so shocked by the hostile reaction to his health crusade that it reduced him to tears.

The celebrity chef crossed the Atlantic pledging to usher in a food revolution in a country where two out of three people are overweight.



It's all too much: Jamie Oliver breaks down in the playground after a confrontation with dinner ladies at a school in Huntington, West Virginia


Heading straight for the clogged-up heart of the problem, he chose a city where schoolchildren are served up pizza and chocolate milk for breakfast.

But there was little appetite in down-at-heel Huntington, West Virginia, for the cheeky chappie Londoner.

And ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution’ didn’t go too well across the rest of the country either, only drawing a comparatively modest 6.1 million viewers for its network premiere on Sunday night.

The locals in Huntington were already smarting over being branded America’s fast food capital by the US Centres for Disease Control.


Big problem: An American child is given a lesson in healthy cooking by Jamie


And, if the first episode of Oliver’s new stateside reality show is to be believed, they certainly weren’t happy about being told what to eat by a foreigner with a meticulously tousled hair and a funny accent.

The TV chef’s first stop took him to a radio station where the interviewer made him about as welcome as a bowl of broccoli.

‘We don’t want to sit around eating lettuce all day!’ said DJ Rod Willis on the Rocky n’ Rod morning show at a country radio station.

‘Who made you king?’ he added.

While Oliver’s health crusade in Britain resulted in a trip to Downing Street five years ago and turned a healthy new leaf for more nutritional school meals, he appears to have a much bigger job on his plate in the US.

He meets the lunch ladies at a Huntington primary school just as they are serving up ‘breakfast pizza’ smothered in eggs, sausage and cheese to 450 children.

Later, the same canteen lays on a lunch of chicken nuggets and instant mash potatoes.

‘It’s that kind of food that’s killing America,’ he declares.


‘You don’t have processed food in England,’ snaps back feisty head cook Alice Gue, who is singularly unimpressed at the intervention.

An incredulous Oliver is further stunned when he holds up tomatoes on a vine to a young boy, who thinks they are potatoes.



Poor diet: A mother starts to cry as Jamie Oliver tells her she's not feeding her children properly, with a table packed with her regular offerings of pizza, hot dogs and pancakes


The next day, Oliver returns to whip up a healthy lunch of roast chicken and wild rice, while the school cooks provide a pepperoni pizza alternative, which proves by far the most popular with the pupils.

It didn’t help that Oliver was forced to apologise after the local Herald Dispatch newspaper ran an article chewing him out for being rude about Huntington.

Promoting the show, he said of Americans: ‘They are all anaemic with information. Like, when you meet these people, they are not stupid. They are not ignorant. It’s just that they have never had food from scratch in their life.’

Swearing the remarks were taken out of context, Oliver ends the first show sitting in the school playground in tears, upset that he is being judged so harshly.

‘They don’t understand me because they don’t know why I’m here,’ he sobs.

During the programme, he also visits a local family living entirely on fried food and pizzas, and reduces the mother to tears by lambasting her diet.

‘This is going to kill your children,’ he tells the weeping mother of four.

Finding at least one local ready to listen, she vows to change her ways after he buries the deep fryer with a prayer in the back garden.

The Washington Post wasn’t won over, with a review saying the show ‘regurgitates the worst of reality TV pap’.

But he won praise for his health crusade from the New York Post and the Los Angeles Times.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i am agree with you, i wrote that A generation or two ago, people may have chosen to live on an unhealthy diet, but they took that choice from their kids, in not teaching them how to live healthily. Do you think a 2 year old child has the mental compacity to decide to eat ****? No - that's the parent's choice! And do you think that child, if not taught, will ever decide to eat healthily? Probably not, because they never learnt the benefits of healthy eating. If a well-meaning bloke wants to inform families of the dangers of a bad diet, and show them that there is another option than the one they live.


You might think you are showing your kid love by buying them a Maccy Ds every day, allowing them to eat junk etc.., but what you are doing is saving them the pain of ever seeing their parents die - because probably living such an unhealthy life will send them to the grave before their parents.

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