Food Revolution Launches In Usa
Jamie goes to America’s most obese city – Huntington, West Virginia – to spread cooking skills in the community. In partnership with Cabell Huntington Hospital, he opens Jamie’s Kitchen (now Huntington’s Kitchen). Jamie's school lunch makeover is rolled out to all 28 Cabell County public schools and eight counties subsequently introduce 100% ‘from-scratch’ meals at breakfast and lunch
“After doing School Dinners (2005) and Ministry of Food (2008) in the UK, we wanted to go to the unhealthiest place in the developed world – this took us to a city called Huntington, in West Virginia. The idea was to use what we’d learnt to try and make a difference. ABC commissioned a primetime programme and we moved in. And the reality is that Huntingdon hated us.
“But, through the church, we met Pastor Steve – who became my greatest ally. Winter was coming and he hated that, because he had to bury so many people. When it gets cold, unhealthy people drop quick and it’s not nice. We realised that Pastor Steve was at the sharpest end of a global story.
“We began by working with one family and gaining their trust. Eventually we worked with the authorities to improve food choices in the town. We met people in charge of the school food system – which looked identical to the UK’s – where food is moved around like stocks and shares, bought years in advance then shipped to a school near you and deep-fried. We brought food markets back to the town, and we met all these local heroes who were trying to improve the city’s health and build cycle paths. It was big, it was bold, it was messy. It wasn’t perfect but it was kind of brilliant.”