Let me start this of by saying that I am a fan of Jamie Oliver. I have eaten his food numerous times and met him on a couple of occasions and liked him a lot. He kindly made me ( personally ) a garlic free version of one of his signature dishes at Fifteen in London. That was a nice touch and I was flattered.
BUT, is anyone else left slightly uncomfortable by the Ministry of Food programme? I watched the first part, and read this excellent piece in The Independent today one is left believing that the people of Rotherham are fat and useless and only eat junk. This can’t be true, yet one cant help watching and thinking that the entire idea may have started out as worthy, but has it become patronising instead? Rotherham has a responsible council, an elected MP, schools, media and supermarkets, not to mention a Farmers Market, so unless the ‘eat well’ message has been completely lost, surely the population of Rotherham can’t be that stupid?
Let’s assume they aren’t, and I think that’s a fair assumption, this potentially valuable and worthy food programme has become entertainment for the rest of us, a chance to feel superior and laugh at stupid fat people. A little like ‘You are What you Eat’ but instead of shaming one person, a whole town seems to be the victim this time.
I am sure that the ‘Jamie Effect’ and his undoubted popularity will turn things around, and his recipes are always winners, and so all will turn out well in the end. For now however, I am resigned to watching a wee but of the show and squirming slightly in my seat as the cheeky chappie from the South, complete with Range Rover and film crew, shakes his head in despair at the stereo-typical no-nonsense Northerners attitude to food.