TORONTO — The chef who made the “Food Revolution” his mantra was in town this week to promote his latest cookbook. Jamie Oliver made a pit stop at Jamie’s Italian, his first North American restaurant, located in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, last night to meet and greet media, talk nutrition and promote his latest cookbook, Super Food Family Classics. Members of the media were treated to a casual Q/A with the celebrity chef moderated by Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen.
Many of the questions asked of the chef focused on his mission to get children to eat healthier and to reduce obesity — a huge advocacy project for Oliver. When asked by F&H magazine whether he felt his mission had achieved the kind of progress he envisioned, Oliver said it depends on how you judge the results. “The conversation is important,” stressed the chef, “things are changing,” even if, he said, it seems like a slow process. “Sometimes,” he said, “the changes are so slow you don’t see them.” But as Oliver noted, there’s much work that remains. He said sometimes “the food industry likes being confused…but it all comes back to honesty. Kids don’t get enough honesty,” he said, stressing the importance of promoting balance in eating. “I’d sleep well at night if we had balance.” Oliver says it’s important to “educate and give kids information at the school level about eating healthy. We need to teach them to grow their own food. If you give people clear information, they’ll make the right decision,” stressed the chef.
And while consumers may not always like government interference, Oliver believes “to protect children, some laws are necessary,” citing taxes such the tobacco tax and seatbelt legislation as laws that were needed to spur progress. Oliver has been a key advocate of implementing a sugar tax in Britain and believes a similar tax will happen in Canada in the next 10 years. “The cost of healthcare would be greatly reduced if you made children’s health a priority,” he said. “You would have a different country.”
Oliver is expected to meet with Prime Minister Trudeau later today to discuss the importance of promoting healthy eating to children. According to a report by The Canadian Press, the government is currently reviewing a bill introduced by Conservative Senator Nancy Greene Raine, which would ban advertising of junk food and sugary drinks to pre-teen children.