At the start of Episode 4 of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Jamie has been holed up in Huntington, West Virginia for two months in his effort to transform the town’s relationship with food.
If there’s one thing this series teaches, it’s that the only way to solve an enormous problem is to set enormous goals. We’ve seen it again and again in this show: Oliver never shirks from tackling the nearly impossible, whether it’s his effort to transform every aspect of the lunch service system in Huntington, or whether it’s coordinating the efforts of a half-dozen unskilled teens in order to serve a gourmet dinner to eighty people.
Throughout the series, Oliver keeps hammering away at DJ Rod at the local KDAWG radio station, never flagging in his efforts to befriend the local disk jockey. But Rod proves himself the unbreachable barrier to Oliver’s irresistible force, and adamantly resists Oliver’s overtures at every turn. At the start of the show, Oliver again meets with DJ Rod, and offers to bet the DJ a beer that he can get a thousand Huntington residents to show up to learn some basic cooking skills. Rod can’t resist the chance to see Oliver go down in flames, so he readily agrees to the bet. Rod then solemnly declares, “One person cannot change 1000 people in Huntington, West Virginia.”
So Oliver turns on the PR machine, employing all sorts of ingenious tactics over the course of the week to hype his cooking events. He takes a photo of each person who turns up, with that person proudly showing off their just-prepared meal. As the thousand slots in Oliver’s photo begin to fill up, Oliver once again extends himself to DJ Rod, asking the DJ to meet up with him at, of all places, the town mortuary. There, we see the piano case-sized coffins that have become necessary for burying Huntington’s most obese residents. The two men then travel to meet up with Stacie Edwards, who talks passionately about the severity of her family’s diet-related problems.
These experiences finally put a dent in DJ Rod’s defenses, and at long last the DJ transforms from adversary to ally. By the show’s end, after a thousand Huntington residents have been taught to make a simple stir-fry—and even the Governor has turned out to support the campaign—it appears that Oliver’s efforts to bring some food sanity to his adopted town are on an unstoppable roll. And once again, the show has delivered vital lessons along the way to food reform advocates everywhere. Link.