Perhaps it was Jamie Oliver’s insistence or a stroke of good luck, or maybe it was the guilty conscience of the Los Angeles Unified School District that has resulted in Dennis Barrett, the district’s director of food services, inviting the host of “The Food Revolution” to propose a 3-week menu of healthy meals for LA students.
Meals suggested by Oliver will need to stay within the current budget—a whopping 77-cents per serving. Eighty percent of LAUSD’s 680,000 students qualify for either reduced price or free lunches. “On a good day the best I can do is provoke a thought or an action,” said Oliver at a press conference in January. But his efforts have been repeatedly quashed, some say by fears that his cameras will expose blemishes in the school district’s food programs or paint their efforts in an unflattering light.
Reaching pariah level status, Oliver moved to Los Angeles to begin filming the second season of the award winning “Food Revolution” only to find closed doors at each attempt at working with the LAUSD, resulting in zero access for Oliver and his crew. So rigid was the response, Oliver was forced to open a satellite kitchen in Brentwood where he has been hosting classes on healthy food preparation for Los Angeles families and students.
Stutter-stepping with the LAUSD, Oliver was given access to West Adams Preparatory High School in a partner district, but was denied further access by the district when he applied for a license to film in the Manual Arts Senior High School.
Oliver drew media attention and more disapproval from the LAUSD recently when he filled a school bus with 57 tons of sand to demonstrate how much sugar is consumed by students each week just through flavored milk products.
According to Oliver’s Twitter account, he’ll also be taking his mission of healthy meals to Los Angeles streets–literally–with a mobile food truck in the very near future.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillettinger
Photo: Jamie Oliver