"Properly, with love, from scratch": Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
ABSTRACT What to eat is of great concern to the U.S. public; it is the subject of social organizing at many scales and the focus of significant academic discussion. This article analyzes Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (JOFR), a much-discussed reality show that aired in 2010 in the United States, in which English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, well known in the United Kingdom for directing government and public attention to school lunch, brought his campaign to promote fresh-cooked food to Huntington, West Virginia. We recognize the capacity of JOFR to encourage people to act on behalf of their and their loved ones' health, as well as to become engaged politically to change the food system, and in this article, we provide a sympathetic critique of themes and methods emphasized by Oliver in his efforts to spark a food revolution. Specifically, our critique points to JOFR's similarity to past food reform efforts; the shaming of the overweight; the focus on a particular form of whiteness that masks the work of race, food, and health; the show's arbitrary designation of authentic food; and JOFR's promotion of heroic, antagonistic change. A food revolution, we argue, needs to engage with structural aspects of the food system through collective action.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Matthew Beckman, Aug 13, 2015
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ABSTRACT: This paper explores the powerful and mediating role of celebrity chefs over audience relationships with food through analysis of Jamie Oliver and his recent series Save with Jamie. The paper firstly situates the role of celebrity chefs theoretically, defining them as ‘talking labels’ who may act both as knowledge intermediaries and boundary objects to connect audiences with food in multiple ways. Here chefs actively construct and mediate discourses around ‘good food’. As trusted, credible, well-liked public figures, chefs step into out private home spaces through our televisions to convey food information in a charismatic, entertaining and accessible way. Like traditional food labels, chef’s words can be ‘sticky’ and take hold in public imaginations in a way that goes far beyond the capacity of food products labels. Yet the relationship between chefs and audiences is far from straightforward and so the paper secondly aims to explore how these talking labels are understood and ‘used’ by audiences in their everyday food practices. Drawing selectively from a large scale audience survey (n = 600) as well as the series, Save with Jamie, this paper reveals the different ways that audiences ‘talk back’ to chefs both positively and negatively to create moments of simultaneous possibility and resistance for audience relations with food. This revealed complex relationships between audiences, chefs and food. It also suggests that the powerful work on celebrity chefs functions as part of a new mediated mechanism within today’s food governance.Geoforum 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.09.004 · 1.93 Impact Factor