Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver had a wish. His wish was to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again, and empower people everywhere to fight obesity. Oliver’s wish was granted when he was announced the recipient of the 2010 TED Prize, an award granting recipients $100,000, and an opportunity to realize their wish to change the world. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to realizing world-changing ideas.
“We’re thrilled to award the TED Prize to Jamie Oliver. His work directly tackles one of the most distressing issues the world faces…the obesity epidemic. In this year in which his TV show launches in the United States, we look forward to helping him achieve even greater impact,” said TED Curator Chris Anderson.
The TED Prize award ignites the talent and resources of the TED community into action in order to “actualize” the wish of the recipients who receive the award. There are currently fifteen ongoing TED Prize projects, many of which are still underway, requiring TED’s continuous involvement which may take years to achieve.
In accordance with achieving Oliver’s wish, Oliver has outlined the following initiatives:
Set up an organization to create a popular movement that will inspire people to change the way they eat. The movement will do this by establishing a network of community kitchens; launching a travelling food theater that will teach kids practical food and cooking skills in an entertaining way and provide basic training for parents and professionals; and bringing millions of people together through an online community to drive the fight against obesity. The grassroots movement must also challenge corporate America to support meaningful programs that will change the culture of junk food.
– Help to establish the organization, with funding, office space and facilities.
– Find partners to equip and run the community kitchens, and food suppliers to provide the fresh ingredients.
– A partner to build and maintain a fleet of food theatre trucks.
– Education experts, graphic designers, artists and writers to develop and produce creative, fun teaching materials.
– Communications experts to create messaging for the movement.
– Web designers and developers to create and build the website.
– Establishment of a food line that generates a sustainable income for the movement.
– Corp. partners to invest in cooking and food education for their customers and champion honest food labelling.
For a young man, Oliver’s achievements are nothing short of astounding. He’s hosted 12 television series seen in 130 countries, and is a bestselling author of 10 cookbooks translated into 29 languages, and has sold almost 24 million copies in 56 countries. Oliver’s School Dinners/Feed Me Better campaign pressured the UK government to invest $1 billion to overhaul school lunches to improve nutrition.
Oliver is also the founder of the Fifteen Foundation, a social enterprise and chef apprenticeship to help disadvantaged 18 to 24-year-olds. Based in London, it has been replicated through franchising in Amsterdam, Cornwall and Melbourne. In 2010, a new television series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution USA, is scheduled to air on ABC, bringing Oliver’s unique vision to America.
Oliver’s healthy preoccupation with all things food is a family tradition, an inherited pattern of thought from working in his father’s pub/restaurant at eight years-old. He received culinary training in England and France, and is now one of the worlds top celebrity chefs. He is committed to changing people’s insalubrious eating habits with simple, unpretentious food and home-bound cooking.
Oliver is of that rare breed who leverages fame and fortune into meaningful social change and public awareness. His many campaigns combined with his cookbooks, television shows, and community activism will create the kind of change needed in the assault on the obesity epidemic that plagues one in four Americans at a cost of $344 billion per year, and almost 10 percent of the yearly US health care costs. Our hat is off to the combined efforts of Jamie Oliver, and the wonderful TED organization.