For over a decade, Jamie Oliver’s books and TV series have inspired millions across the world to cook from scratch using fresh ingredients, and to enjoy the pleasure of eating great food. In recent years, the Naked Chef’s attention has turned to his campaigns and charity, the Jamie Oliver Foundation. In conversation with food journalist and television personality Matt Preston, Oliver explains why teaching people to cook tasty, nutritious food is so important, and reflects on his attempts to convince governments to tackle the growing global obesity problem.
In an extensive discussion lasting over 70 minutes, Oliver begins by explaining why food and diets should be such a significant political issue. He elaborates on funding commitments announced by the Victorian government and the Good Foundation (who have supported his work in Australia), and clarifies the basic premises behind his campaigns.
As Preston acknowledges, it hasn’t been an easy road for those campaigns. Oliver admits the enormity of the challenges he’s faced in getting governments and communities to act, and discusses why he persists in spite of them.
Oliver then describes the two factors which motivate him, namely his thirst for creative expression and his wish to create a sustainable funding source for his community projects. Preston questions how Oliver fits family into his ambitious schedule, before asking: is he a control freak? Does he consider himself a good man, and what would he seek to improve?
The session ends with questions from the audience about sugar, how he teaches his own children about good eating, his advice for grassroots change, dysfunctional emotional relationships with food, packed lunches in schools and finally, the “boring” but crucial issue of water.
Jamie Oliver started cooking at his parent’s pub, The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, at the age of eight and has since worked with some of the world’s top chefs.
Matt Preston is an award-winning food journalist, restaurant critic and television personality. Best known as a judge and co-host of MasterChef Australia, Preston is also a senior editor for delicious and taste magazine.