Tag Archives: Food Revolution

Food Revolution L.A.

Update: Photos of a Food Revolution event in Santa Monica (2/12/11) added to my Flickr folder.

My good friend Bob Merrick and I are both HUGE fans of British chef Jamie Oliver. We’re also supporters of his “Food Revolution”, both the show (which won a 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program) AND the movement.

Food Revolution L.A.The first season was filmed in Huntington, West Virginia and personally, I was moved to tears watching Jamie’s struggle to help the community change it’s eating habits, focusing mostly on school children.

My husband Peter and I don’t have kids, but we have lots of nieces and nephews, so we were stunned by the poor quality of processed, unhealthy meals being served in school cafeterias. As Jamie notes on his website:

“This food revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way you eat. It’s not just a TV show, it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking. Find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better but it will add years to your life.”

Season Two of Food Revolution is now filming in Los Angeles. The problem is, that unlike the city of Huntington, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will NOT allow Jamie Oliver to film in any of our schools. The L.A. Times reported that an LAUSD spokesman said there is no chance for a change of heart. Via email, Robert Alaniz stated that “Reality TV has a formula. You either have to have drama or create conflict to be successful. We’re not interested in either.”

Food Revolution L.A.Yesterday, Bob, Peter and our friend Brent were lucky enough to hear Jamie Oliver speak at his L.A. Food Revolution headquarters in Westwood. “Jamie’s Kitchen” is not only a set for season two, but also a community kitchen where folks can learn to cook healthy meals.

Cameras were rolling as parents, kids, aunts and uncles were on hand to discuss the current status of our unfortunate school lunch system. Many parents brought along samples of what their children are being fed, and most of us gasped as Jamie opened packages of processed, plastic containers of what looked like mostly junk. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos during the actual taping, but got a few shots afterwards.

Always passionate about educating (in a fun way), Jamie even brought in a live cow and local butchers to explain how the cheapest (throwaway) scraps of beef are being processed into our food system. Don’t worry, he didn’t butcher the live cow (we were worried for a minute!), but instead used the cow as sort of a chalk board to demonstrate the cost of meat.

Food Revolution L.A.As the butchers broke down large slabs of meat in front of us, Jamie gave us a demonstration of how some beef processing companies make more money by soaking beef scraps in ammonia. This is so the meat would be safe from E. coli and salmonella contamination. These scraps were previously only sold for pet food or cooking oil, but we also get to enjoy it mixed into our burgers. I know… GROSS. Read more about this issue below.

I remember watching the first few episodes of Food Revolution season one and thinking, “wow, I feel bad for these kids in West Virginia. What a shame that they have to grow up eating such crap.” My super-healthy, big sister Janet has always packed her kids lunches, so I rarely heard my niece and nephews complain about their cafeteria fare. When the twins (now 15) were little, my sister would give them fruit-juice sweetened bran muffins instead of cookies. I always felt BAD for them and would treat them to extra ice cream (naughty Aunt Jo) when they stayed overnight. I realize how lucky my family is now, that they didn’t have to rely on public school lunches for nutrition.

Yesterday was a revelation for me. The school lunch problem isn’t just in small towns or on a reality show. It’s HERE LOS ANGELES, and we’ve got this amazing champion ready and willing to take on the challenge in a big way. Jamie Oliver won’t be able to fix it all of course, but he’s got a voice… a great big, passionate (Emmy-winning) voice to lead the way.

How can we help RIGHT NOW? By emailing the LAUSD board members directly.

At the end of our meeting yesterday, Jamie handed out letters and email addresses of each of the seven board members. I’ve copied the letter below so you can help with the campaign yourself.

Let’s do this Los Angeles!!!

Jamie Oliver’s Open Letter:

Thank you for coming today. I need your support. Please write to the LAUSD board members (addresses below) to grant me access into the schools to see the food being fed to your children. Please try to do this in the next 24 hours. I’m never going to get this done without you.

Please CC: JamiesKitchenLA@Live.com on these emails so I can track the great work you are doing. Please make the subject of your email “Let Jamie Oliver into LAUSD”. Please pass this on to your friends and family and show your support on our Facebook page – “Food Revolution Los Angeles”. Your effort with make a difference.”

Big Love,
Jamie Oliver

Board Member Contacts:

Disctrict 1: Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte
email Marguerite.Lamotte@lausd.net

District 2: Monica Garcia
email Monica.Garica@lausd.net

District 3: Tamar Galatzan
email Tamar.Galatzan@lausd.net

Disctrict 4: Steve Zimmer
email Steve.Zimmer@lausd.net

District 5: Yoli Flores
email Yolie.Flores@lausd.net

District 6: Nury Martinez
email Nury.Martinez@lausd.net

District 7: Dr. Richard Vladovic
email Richard.Vladovic@lausd.net

Here is what I wrote in my email to EACH board member:
Please give Jamie Oliver access to our LAUSD schools. Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” is NOT just a television show. He truly cares about the health of our children, and the public has a right to see the state of nutrition in our public schools.

Thank you for your time.
Jo Stougaard

Remember to cc: JamiesKitchenLA@Live.com
and make the subject of your email “Let Jamie Oliver into LAUSD”

If you don’t know what district your kids are in, check here

Food Revolution L.A.Follow Jamie Oliver on Twitter

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution L.A. FaceBook

Jamie Oliver’s website

News about Food Revolution L.A. (L.A. Weekly)

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Rejected By LAUSD (Grub Street L.A.)

TV chef Jamie Oliver shut out of L.A. school cafeterias (L.A. Times)

Would you soak your beef in ammonia? (New England Health Advisory via New York Times)

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) website

My friend Bob’s website

Just for fun: For my nephew’s high school graduation (2007), we flew to London to eat at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

All my Food Revolution L.A. photos on flickr

Watch a clip from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Season 1

Sign the Food Revolution Petition

with Chef Jamie Oliver


Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

Guinness Steak Pie

Jamie Oliver’s
Steak, Guinness and Cheese Pie with a Puff Pastry Lid

If you’re searching for a St. Patrick’s Day supper recipe (or a hearty meal to warm your spirits), this is a delicious alternative to the traditional pot of corned beef and cabbage, especially if you’re a “meat pie” lover like me.

Steak & Guinness Pie, MyLastBite.com

The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s terrific cookbook “Jamie at Home”, which coincides with his show on Food Network. The episode with this recipe is called “Pastry”, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

This dish is now a St. Paddy’s Day tradition in our house, and it’s always a hit with friends and family.

My changes to the original recipe are noted in orange.


Olive oil
3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
1 oz butter plus extra for greasing
Steak & Guinness Pie Photo 2, MyLastBite.com2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery trimmed and chopped
4 field mushrooms peeled and sliced
2 1/2 pound brisket or stewing beef cut in to 1 inch cubes
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can of Guinness beer

(Instead I used 2 bottles ofGuinness Draught, 11.2 oz size bottles)
2 heaped tablespoons of flour
7 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 sheets of ready made good quality all butter puff pastry
1 large organic free range egg, beaten

(I also added 1 chopped Jalapeno for heat)

Steak & Guinness Pie Photo 3, MyLastBite.com


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large ovenproof pan, heat a glug of olive oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry them gently for about ten minutes – try not to color them too much.

Turn up the heat add the garlic, butter, carrots, celery, jalapenos and scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, a pinch of slat and a level teaspoon of pepper.

Steak & Guinness Pie Photo 4, MyLastBite.comFry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in one bottle of Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about one (1) and 1/2 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back in to the oven and continue to cook it for another hour or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich dark and thick. (I added another half bottle of Guinness at this point).

Jamie notes: “A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it’s still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob (stove top) and reduce until the sauce thickens.”

Remove it from the heat and stir in half of the cheese, then season carefully and leave it to cool slightly.

Cut about a third of the pastry from the block. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll both pieces of pastry out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a pound coin.

Butter an appropriately sized pie dish then line with the larger sheet, leaving the edges dangling over the sides.

Tip (pour or spoon) the stew into your pastry lined dish and even it out before sprinkling the remaining cheese over it.

Guinness Steak Pie

Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg.

Guinness Steak Pie

Cut the other rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss-cross lightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry on to the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic.

Brush the top with beaten egg then bake the pie directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes until the pastry is cooked puffed and golden.

Guinness Steak Pie

Serves 4 to 6

Guinness Steak Pie

Jamie Oliver’s Official Website

“Jamie at Home” on Food Network

If you have the U.K. version of the book “Jamie Oliver at Home”, it’s on page 342.

I use this Gram Conversion Calculator

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Originally posted Mar 13, 2009


Filed under Recipes