Despite criticism, Jamie Oliver resolves to combat childhood obesity

Jamie Oliver cookbookJamie Oliver burst onto the food scene in the very late 1990s with a rock star persona and serious cooking skills. Since then, the chef has grown his celebrity brand which includes several cookbooks and dozens of restaurants. Although his fortunes in the latter arena have waxed and waned over the years, one aspect of his work has remained steady throughout: eliminating childhood obesity

In an interview with The Guardian, the outspoken chef discusses his work in promoting healthier diets, which have won him both praise and a fair amount of criticism. It’s not hard to get someone to say: ‘Jamie Oliver is a wanker'”, he says. “I think the concept of having an opinion and caring in Britain is a really funny one, you know: ‘How dare you.'” His critics accuse him of hypocrisy, noting that he built part of his empire by lending his likeness to supermarket advertisements – the same kind of promotions he now frequently decries. 

Oliver successfully pushed for a sugar tax on sodas, and he would like to expand that to other sweet items as well. In addition, he recently coordinated a letter addressed to the prime minister and signed by politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon. It aims to convince the government to ban junk food advertising before 9:00 pm and unhealthy BOGO offers, among other things including more informative food labelling. 

While the war on childhood obesity consumes a good portion of Oliver’s time, he continues to do other work, including overseeing his restaurant empire. Recently he had to close several restaurants and lay off hundreds of workers, which he describes as “awful. Worst time in my life.” Despite this challenge, the chef finds time to develop recipes, and has a new cookbook slated for release later this summer. 

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