Here's one big, fat challenge: get Americans to eat right. Millions of people tuned in to ABC's six-episode Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to watch the Naked Chef attempt this task, beginning with the nutritionally broken school-lunch system in Huntington, West Virginia. (A similar effort by Oliver has produced significant changes in Britain.) It wasn't hard for him to see where to start--"Take vegetables," he says. "French fries count as a vegetable?!"--though it was just a start. Fortunately, Oliver, 35, has patience. He has launched a nationwide petition to press public officials for reform, and he opened Jamie's Kitchen, a community center offering cooking classes and food education in downtown Huntington. He also has the high profile that a global empire brings. In addition to his TV series, cookbooks, restaurants, and a bimonthly magazine, he has branded cookware, ingredients, home fragrances, and bath and body products. Through the Jamie Oliver Foundation, he provides opportunities to disadvantaged youth, including apprenticeships at his high-end restaurant franchise Fifteen. "I want to find a way to empower other people through food," he says. "I was rubbish in school and have serious dyslexia. I can still barely read. Cooking was the only thing I was ever good at."
As soon as I was old enough to peer over the worktops, I remember being fascinated by what went on in the kitchen. It just seemed such a cool place, everyone working together to make this lovely stuff and having a laugh doing it.
... all I ever wanted to do was to make food accessible to everyone; to show that you can make mistakes--I do all the time--but it doesn't matter.