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amie Oliver has been a household name for the past seven years, but he's not your average TV chef. It's no secret that not everyone is crazy about the 29-year-old's cheery disposition, but why is this? After all, he's just a young family man who hopes to use his culinary talents to make the world a better place. We first saw the chef's socially

J

responsible

side in Jamie's Kitchen,

when he took 15 underprivileged youngsters and tried - by and large successfully - to turn them into

8

professional chefs, before offering them jobs at his London restaurant Fifteen. Now he's on another mission - this time to transform school dinners from greasy, fatty junk food to good, wholesome, nutritious nosh. In Jamie'sSchoolDinners,he attempts to take charge of 20,000 dinners in schools across south London and is hoping that his ideas will encourage other schools to rethink the quality of the food they serve to their pupils. 'When we were trying to get this commissioned, it was always clear

this wasn't a programme, it was a campaign,' explains Jamie. 'Don't get me wrong, I don't particularly like making documentaries - it's very invasive. But if we're going to do this, we should get it on telly and let people know what's going on: In the first instalment, we see Jamie clash with dinner lady Nora. Can the cheery chappie come up with some healthy alternatives to

'Jamie style', but he also needs to persuade the children to go for his creations, which include roast loin of pork with thyme and red onion gravy and herb-crusted fillet of fish with green salad. 'Running my food next to the canteen's doesn't work,' says Jamie. 'With kids being as fickle as they are, put anyone's food next to junk food and you haven't got a

her pizza and chips

chance

- with

a budget

of just 37p per pupil per day? 'School dinners are not about food - they're about accounts,' says Jamie, 'and pre-packed food is an accountant's dream. It's all pre-portioned, it's all cheap and it's all made God knows where: The chef has a battle on his hands: not only does he have to get the dinner ladies to start cooking

- no matter

who's cooking:

So, does Jamie think the series will make a lasting impression? 'It's not supposed to be beautiful telly

- it's

supposed

to be gritty,'

he says. 'But if it doesn't bring about some sort of change, I don't think anything will: . Jamie is interviewed by Vemon Kayin JamieOliver:T4 Special (C4, Sunday)


Total TV - Jamie's School Dinners