Healthy-eating champion Jamie Oliver brought his crusade last Thursday night to the posh Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel for a night of fundraising and a meeting of the nutrition-minded. The cocktail party promised a “PowerPoint- and lecture-free” party, with apps and drinks courtesy of the celebrity chef, as well as Oliver’s start in raising $1 million to continue his wholesome efforts in Los Angeles. “Tonight was just about reaching out to friends and family for help,” Oliver said, addressing the crowd of 100 or so. “So have a drink on me.”
Oliver took a break from mingling to show a short video and give a quick speech recapping the efforts of his nonprofit Food Foundation, including the Child Nutrition Bill that recently cleared Congress and L.A. officials’ decision to ditch flavored milk in public schools.
The event comes on the heels of the OK by Congress to count pizza as a vegetable in U.S. public school cafeterias. “We worked so hard to pass the Child Nutrition Bill,” which sets new standards by adding more fruits and vegetables to school meals, said Oliver. “It’s amazing how quickly it can all go to shit."
To keep his food revolution on track, Oliver asked supporters to donate and encourage their friends to do the same, or if your wallet is a little less padded, grassroots efforts like hosting pay-what-you-can dinner parties or bake sales. Supporters can also text 90975 to tell their local Congressman they demand healthy meals in schools.
Oliver hopes to meet his fundraising goal by Feed Us Better Day, a yet-to-be-set date meant to raise awareness for food education, cooking skills and the right to better food. “We haven’t picked a day, but it won’t be Valentine’s Day — that’s a bit busy,” he said. The money raised will help fund his Feed Us Better campaign offering cooking classes and nutrition education in Los Angeles, which Oliver hopes to expand to other cities.
“I know I’m a foreigner in your country,” Oliver said, “but I do what I do in any country. I want to make a change, and no one changes faster than Americans and everyone copies Americans.”
As for the recent rumors that Oliver will lay down more roots on the West Coast and open a restaurant in Los Angeles, “It’ll happen in the next few years,” he said. “It’s quite hard to open a restaurant here for an English boy.” [EaterWire] — Jamie Wetherbe