Jamie Oliver

What We’re Watching: New Food Shows

April 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm , by

Since I spend the better part of my days cooking, writing and talking about food, the LAST thing I want to do after work is watch any food TV. I prefer to unwind with an episode of Damages (Love Glenn Close!) or The Real Housewives of New York City (Gab and I are both hooked). There are, however, some exceptions:

jamie-oliver-food-revolutionJamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – The former Naked Chef is on a mission to teach the West Virginia town of Huntington (and America) how to eat better and (hopefully) live longer, healthier lives. As the first episode points out, this is no small feat. The town seems quite fond of its artery-clogging ways. The show is gripping, not for what it exposes (a town addicted to processed foods), but that it is exposing it on national television during prime time. Jamie Oliver and producer Ryan Seacrest are not mining new territory here. At this point most of us already know that we are a fast food nation—still it’s nice to see somebody actually attempt to change it. Plus, the fact that the show is highly entertaining to watch can only help the cause. (Jaime showing a group of youngsters how chicken nuggets are made was enlightening.) It’s obvious that Chef Oliver is dedicated to this issue and I hope he succeeds, for all our sakes.

308780_025eeb8c-2099-45e7-b0c2-4eaa59f5d015-top-chef-mastersTop Chef Masters – I’m more than happy to bend my “no food TV” rule at home for Top Chef. As an admitted reality show addict (I’ll watch anything on Bravo), I love Top Chef because it’s great TV that just happens to be about cooking. Plus, I used to work for Tom Colicchio and I have a ton of respect for the man. That being said, the new season of Top Chef Masters (sans Colicchio) may be my favorite incarnation of the cooking competition franchise yet. It’s mind boggling to watch famous chefs (ones that I admire greatly) scrambling around the kitchen in their clogs like a bunch of culinary novices.

food-inc-posterFood, Inc. – If you never saw this Academy Award-nominated film in the theater then tune into POV on PBS at 9 p.m. on  April 21. I promise you won’t be sorry. Food, Inc. asks, “How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families?” The movie sets out to answer this seemingly-basic question by exploring issues like factory farming, genetic engineering, cloning and pesticides. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” As someone who considers himself fairly knowledgeable about the food world around him, even I was stunned by what I didn’t know about the food I eat.

        Ok, now back to your regularly scheduled broadcasting: Jill said WHAT to Bethenny?

        How to Grow Healthy Kids? Start With Dirt. (And get them cooking!)

        March 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm , by

        Scott baking a cakeIn my recent post on the “slow home” movement, I scoffed at the idea of trading grocery-shopping for home-grown-vegetable-picking.  Farming on my tiny New York City deck? Yeah, right. Or so I felt then. Now, I’m not only determined to grow vegetables, I want to grow uncommon ones. Rutabagas, darn it. Purple cauliflower. Zebra tomatoes. Can starfruit grow in Brooklyn?

        The reason for my turnaround: an amazing “TED talk” presentation from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. He convincingly argues that diseases that are influenced by bad eating habits are the #1 killers in America—and that it’s a health crisis we can easily address.

        He included some eye-opening videos. The one that really got me was his trip to what appears to be a second-grade classroom. Jamie holds up a variety of vegetables, asking the kids to identify them. First were tomatoes on the vine.  Do you know that not ONE of the kids in that classroom was able to identify a TOMATO?

        Same with beets, cauliflower, eggplant. And the capper, he holds up a baking potato. “Do you know what this is?” he asks a young boy. No clue. It made me cry. How much processed food must they eat? “Normal,” Jamie said. And I’m sure he’s right.

        Now, I like a quarter-pounder with cheese—and fries with that—as much as the next red-blooded American. Read more