Jamie Oliver’s American Roadtrip Review: Food For Thought

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4jamie 300x210JAMIE’S AMERICAN ROADTRIP: Tuesday st September, Channel 4, 9pm Alert Me

If you thought he was ever going to go away then more fool you.

Jamie Oliver is here to stay and after watching his latest show it turns out we’re quite pleased about that.

We’ve had to make peace with the speech impediment and the ginge tinge hair but overall we’re secretly fond of Jamie and his looks-easy-but-probably-isn’t food.

His new show will take him round the land of Big Macs, letting him explore different parts of the US and the importance of food.

We were surprised to learn that it wasn’t actually an excuse to point the finger at fat people and laugh in their triple chinned faces. Oh no, this show is all about exploration, family and flavours.

Kicking things off, Jamie is in a predominantly Mexican populated region of Los Angeles where he encounters gangster turned chef, Rigo. Growing up on the mean streets, Rigo had more than a few obstacles to overcome but realised that he must get out of it when his uncle was murdered.

Rigo invited Jamie to join him at a commemorative dinner held in his uncle’s honour. He revealed to our lisping Brit that food became his escape and gave him another route to take. To the Mexican community, food is a link to their heritage and meals are for more than just feeding the body; they are what draws families together.

Jamie takes a trip to Homeboy Industries where an apprenticeship type of scheme has sprung up, giving opportunities to ex and current gang members. Like Jamie, Homeboy Industries believe that ‘food can break the cycle of crime’.

It’s fun to watch and when you realise that this isn’t just another cooking show then you’ll get so much more out if it. Jamie makes a real effort to understand the small slice of culture that he’s experiencing and how food plays into their lives. The ancestral foods that Jamie learns to cook are utterly mouth-watering and look a million times tastier than anything you or I were raised with.

I only wish a show like this could work in England but unfortunately we are too rigid, combative and defensive to be this open about the food we eat.

Americans seem to be much more varied in their choices of food and Jamie presents them all chocolates in a box, wrapped in colourful paper with a different filling each week.

Emily Moulder

Get caught up on the latest action from the X Factor with our roundup! And get trashy with the Real housewives Of New Jersey!

Ana says:

We love that Jamie chose to kick off his American tour in LA with Homeboy Industries. Their mission is great, and they’ve struggled so much to stay afloat this year as donor money has thinned out.

For more on Homeboy see our short documentary on them, which is also now on Hulu – explore.org/explore/losangeles/films/119)

Did you know too that Jamie is also sometimes involved with Common Threads, the Chicago-based nonprofit started by Art Smith? They’re doing great work too, teaching kids about nutrition and foods from around the world.. We’re releasing our film on them in October…!