interview with jamie: food revolution episode 4

Interview With Jamie: Food Revolution Episode 4

Tue 05 Oct 2010

Story by Danny McCubbin

In this online exclusive, Jamie answers questions that relate to the fourth episode of his 6-part TV show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution".

Do you think you need to be up against tough challenges in order to succeed?
In a way I do think itís necessary. If you ever do something like this and feel comfortable then you know you are not doing a good enough job because in order to make big changes sometimes you need to be uncomfortable, you need to be pushing the boundaries, you need to be feeling like you are a bit vulnerable and we did for sure.

I think if you are really passionate about a project you have to get to know the people who are going to stand in your way so hopefully you can work with them and try and change their minds. No one likes change. Iíve really learned that over the years and am quite used to going into situations where people are not that partial to me. Ultimately I really believed in what I was trying to do in Huntington, if I hadnít I would not have felt as confident going in there in the first place.

It seems like Rod the radio DJís opposition to what you were trying to do turned out to be a blessing in the end.
Rod definitely didnít like me being in his town, but the fact that he was against what we were doing turned out to be quite helpful because it means the public get to hear another view and choose which view they agree with. There will be people who agree with Rod strongly and there will be people who agree with me strongly, thatís all good for the campaign and thatís all good for the TV show. As long as it gets people debating this subject Iím happy. Hopefully the fact that he starts to come around will encourage other naysayers who feel the way he does to change their minds too.

I had a very strange job to do in this project: I needed to get in there and make changes, I had to promote the campaign element locally and federally, and then I had to make the actual TV programme. For the TV programme I didnít have a presenterís job as I had to tell a story by actually going through the ups and downs with the town.

Despite what people may think this was not a scripted series this was an observational piece of factual TV. We didnít know what was going to happen, I didnít know who was going to like me or hate me, we didnít know if anyone was going to change their minds and join us, we didnít know if the council or the local authorities or the senator would support us... We didnít know anything. We could have ended up with nothing and having made no difference at all so if you look at what we achieved, it was phenomenal.

The flash mob looked like lots of fun, how long did it take for the crowd to gather?
The crowd just came out of the blue really and it was just a bit of fun to spread the word. Obviously everyone was thinking ďWhat is going on?Ē I think that all the guys who got involved did a great job. The whole point of a flash mob is to create a bit of a scene and get people talking, whether it is online or in the local community. It served its purpose really well because we ended up getting loads of interest as a result. The papers were going mad, the radios were going mad Ė it was perfect.

How did it feel when you arrived in the kitchen on the day when people came to cook and make up the 1,000?
Huntington is a community of 50,000 and I needed to get 2% of them coming in to do this so it was quite a big ask. I was relieved more than anything when everyone showed up. To be honest I have been relieved through this whole process. None of those people had been organised to come, they were just local people who were interested. It was brilliant.

About the Author: Danny McCubbin is the website editor for

Jamie's Food Revolution airs on Channel 4 in the UK at 10pm on Monday nights.


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