To say that Jamie Oliver hasn't had an easy time bringing his Emmy Award-winning Food Revolution reality TV show to Los Angeles is the understatement of the year: Officials at the Los Angeles Unified School District rejected his offer to help at the end of November; this means he does not have permission to film the second season of his show in the district's school cafeterias. And, his latest stunt, which was intended to drum up support for his healthy school lunch initiative, didn't go exactly as planned ...
Last week the celebrity chef and his crew filled an old school bus with 57 tons of white sand. The publicity stunt was meant to represent how much sugar LAUSD schoolchildren consume every week from the flavored milk they're given in their school lunches. Oliver hoped that parents and community members would be enraged by the demonstration and motivated to back his cause to make school lunches healthy.
The only problem? No one was around to see it. Oliver himself estimated that only 20 people and one journalist attended the event. That hardly qualifies as a publicity stunt, a fact that was not lost on Oliver as he complained to the (small) audience:
L.A. is not on my side. They've got their fingers in their ears -- la, la, la -- they're not having it. This city doesn't care. I don't want to winge about turnout ... but maybe L.A. was a big mistake ... I've never been so deflated in my whole career.
It's disheartening to see Oliver so frustrated, especially when his intention -- to provide public school children with healthy school lunches -- is so noble. But perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel? The L.A. Times is reporting that Oliver successfully landed a visit with students and officials at West Adams Prep, a high school in South L.A. The school has a partnership with LAUSD (and eats its lunches), but makes some decisions independently as well.
Only time will tell whether Oliver will get permission to film at West Adams Prep. What we do know at this point is that the chairwoman of the schools board, Megan Chernin, said that his show "might actually have something important to contribute to the way we approach school nutrition.”
Fingers crossed for Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution!
Why is L.A. so reluctant to work with Jamie Oliver?
Image via Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution