Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is going back to school - but this time he is going to be serving school dinners. Oliver started filming his latest four-part TV series, which will be shown on Channel Four, at the Kidbrooke School in Greenwich on Wednesday.
To begin with, Oliver is going to be learning what life is like for school cooks and tackling the day-to-day issues they face. He will be working with the dinner ladies and getting to grips with feeding the secondary school's 1,300 kids on a small budget.
The celebrity chef said he had been concerned about what kids ate in school for some time. "I've devoted most of the rest of 2004 to doing something about school food. For some kids, it's their only proper meal of the day, so it's crucial that school lunch provides them with something that's not just a load of old rubbish."
The aim of the series is to find out whether Oliver could help and have a lasting impact on school meals. "The last thing any of us want is a PR stunt; it has to have a lasting affect," one source said.
A spokeswoman for Kidbrooke School, whose meals are provided by the council's catering arm, said: "It will be good to get his perspective on things and to help us get more kids to eat the food."
She added that the school's headmaster was very keen on healthy eating and that the pupils and teachers were "extremely excited" about having the "naked chef" in their kitchen.
Oliver has been an outspoken critic of school meals in the past. In early 2003, he blasted them as "being outsourced to businesses which have to make a profit… so they end up being made of rubbish".
He also pledged to get involved with "kids and cooking". Some 15 months on, he has been true to his word.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 22 - 28 April 2