Monday, November 10, 2008

Meeting the 'Naked Chef'!

What an incredible chance meeting this morning walking through the Union Square farmer's market. I'm a huge fan of one 'naked' chef who's doing some incredible things across the pond. I had the pleasure and good luck of running into British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver this morning while he was filming some greenmarket footage. Why am I such a fan of Jamie? He's taking the way Brits view food by storm...and it's working. He recognized the growing problems with Britain's (and the U.S.'s) growing waistlines and increasing dependence on convenience and processed foods. Over 60% of Americans (and Brits) are overweight or obese and only 27% of Americans consume 3 or more serving of fruits and veggies daily -- umm...that's just damn scary. Through a number of different avenues - from his blogs, website, hit tv cooking shows and non-profit programs like Fifteen, Jamie is working to get people in the UK back in their kitchens -- getting excited by fresh, good-for-you ingredients, simple nutritious (and delicious) dishes. He's making good, fresh food cool again and he's been leading the charge in reforming the school food system in Britain, getting not only kids, lunch ladies and parents on board, but also the Prime Minister. His latest campaign, Ministry of Food, serves to re-educate Brits town by town, one community a time, in healthier ways of cooking -- encouraging people to spread the word, get friends and family involved...let's make cooking freaking fun again people!
I have to say, what he's been able to do overseas in such a short time is impressive and damn exciting (I admit, I was little gitty chatting with him this morning). The guy's just plain cool. Check him out on the Today Show this week - he's in town promoting his new cookbook, Jamie at Home.
In a single sentence this morning, Jamie summed up why he's doing what he's doing and it directly echoes why I write this blog and do what I do when working with clients and the media through Nourish. In speaking about the lack of healthful eating habits and the growing overweight epedemic Jamie stated: "The UK is f*cked and America's even worse." Classic line and unfortunately dead on. What can we do to take the momentum he's grown in the UK and really infuse our society? I'm hoping that President-elect Obama will help make better eating in this country a priority over the next four years...because it absolutely is one. My vote's an overwhelming 'yes'. What's something simple you yourself can do to get cooking again?

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