Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has made a name for himself with his hit television show “The Naked Chef” and his best selling cookbooks, but the British restaurateur has also made it his mission to get people on the fast-track to healthy eating.
Just last week, Jamie Oliver launched the first-ever, global Food Revolution Day, which took place in about 60 countries urging people to focus on food education and to fight obesity. When Oliver sat down with MTV as part of our Pioneers Speaker Series, he told us that young people are the ones who have the power to make a positive change toward healthy eating.
“I think the youth are really important customers, really important. If the youth could come up with something for the youth, I think that would be incredible,” Oliver said. “I’ve worked with so many kids in school and I think they are frustrated whether it’s with their own school food or whether it’s stuff they get out. I think they are all waiting for something brilliant and when it happens, I think they will buy into it.”
With Americans losing the war against obesity and children growing up overweight, Oliver is determined to implement a healthy lifestyle by getting people back into their kitchens, having nutritious meals at school and encouraging communities to plan health-conscious events. But Oliver admits that in order to do this, people have to do their own homework and educate themselves.
“For me, it’s about being street wise about food, it’s about not getting mugged, and mugged means not getting ripped off it you know about food,” Oliver said. “You know where to shop, you know what to avoid, you know what you can do.”
And once you have that knowledge, not only can you make a delicious meal, but according to Oliver, you’ll probably reap some other benefits, too.
“If you got two good-looking fellas and one can cook and one cant, it’s the one that can cook that’s getting the look and vice versa for the girls,” Oliver admitted. “So all I’m trying to say is cooking is really fun, you’re saving money and it will be with you for the rest of your life.”
And Oliver says the perfect ingredient when putting together a healthy meal is of course, music. Oliver listens to a different array of songs while preparing his dish.
“I’m split between sort of like … [the Red Hot] Chili Peppers, Killers, Strokes, sort of mix it up that sort of way and then old, brilliant, miserable British indie music,” Oliver said. “But I’m quite eclectic, I like a bit of everything.”