Jamie Oliver: ‘Food Revolution’ goes to the lunch ladies for support

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With the brass ring of the Los Angeles schools out of his reach, activist chef Jamie Oliver shows off some smaller successes in Friday night’s episode of ‘Food Revolution’ on ABC. And he sets viewers up for the series finale, introducing the district’s new superintendent, John Deasy.

Oliver wins over a skeptical crowd in Pasadena, where he gives a speech to the annual meeting of the state association of cafeteria workers. He says that 76 school districts have denied him access to their cafeterias, so he plans to draw in the people -- the vast majority of them women -- who feed the children in California’s public schools.


It’s there that he meets Pavel Matustik, who runs the food service at the Santa Clarita schools and invites Oliver into his kitchens. But he later tells Oliver that his board -- like the Los Angeles school board -- would welcome Oliver only without his cameras.

Matustik says his board ‘got scared.’ Oliver is pretty unsympathetic, saying his cameras are essential. ‘If it’s not on camera, it doesn’t exist.’

Oliver returns to West Adams Preparatory High School, which has welcomed him from the start. But he has just a single day left at the school before his film permit expires, so he uses it to cook with some students to feed the whole school a lunch of chili, rice and salad. And he decides to move his community kitchen from the tonier Westwood to a warehouse near the school, which he does with the help of the American Heart Assn.

He gets the people who run West Adams to go on a field trip with him to Carpinteria High School near Santa Barbara, where the cafeteria cooks from scratch using food grown at the school’s garden. It’s an impressive operation, and even the students praise the meals. Oliver hopes to get West Adams to break off its meal plan from the district.

Oliver also checks back in with the contrite Denny Barrett and his two sons, people Oliver says ‘were fast-food addicts.’ Last week, Oliver showed them the error of their ways, filling their home with a year’s worth of fast food before they decide to change. After some lessons, they’re cooking at home, says son Brandon. The change seems dramatic: kabobs in a roasting pan, greens growing outside and a 16-pound weight loss for Dad.

A peek into the Seed Library of Los Angeles

-- Mary MacVean