Saturday, October 8, 2016

Jamie Oliver energizes Toronto

Jamie Oliver & Linda Matarasso
Did you ever do something for so long and felt like nothing was happening and then you start to wonder why you did it in the first place?  Well, lately I have been feeling that way.  Over 5 years ago I became a Food Revolution Ambassador to represent Jamie Oliver's vision to make people live healthier happier lives by eating better food.  I was originally inspired by his school lunch campaigns and work in the UK and USA so I joined.   But for the past few years I have been spending a lot of my time shouting to whoever will listen on social media about what he and myself and the rest of the Ambassadors were trying to do.  I kind of felt like I was in the ocean in a little boat waving for help and nobody could hear me.  I spent 5 years trying to host events and write about Food Revolution but had never actually met Jamie in person even though I had seen him at television shows and appearances in Toronto a few times.  This time was different though.

I finally got to meet Chef/Activist Jamie Oliver, the person that inspired me to join Food Revolution 5 years ago and representing his Food Revolution campaign.  Jamie was in town to do many things.  He was promoting his 2 restaurants at Yorkdale and Square One in Mississauga and also his new cookbook Super Food Family Classics and he did lots of media interviews a Press Conference Panel and a chat with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.



The Ambassadors around Toronto were invited to go to Jamie's relatively new restaurant Jamie's Italian at Yorkdale for a dinner and Q&A for media and other influencers.  They set aside a very long table for a sit down dinner after Jamie's chat with the media and we were given loads of food.  We were told he would pop by to say hi but as we got through our dinner we didn't think that was going to happen and then someone spoke to Jamie and he came over finally.


He sat down with us and listened to what we have been doing and what we wanted him to tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his chat with him the next day.


He had a very long day and was probably extremely jet lagged but he was still full of passion and energy when speaking about what he wanted to do for his Childhood Obesity campaign.

Jamie Oliver and Senator Nancy Green Reine
He invited us to attend a Press Conference panel discussion that was held at the Evergreen Brickworks the next morning with some very important people who were all involved in creating change in the area of Childhood Obesity.  Nick Saul the CEO of Community Food Centres Canada was the moderator.

Members of the panel included:

  • Dr. Jan Jux, Chief Sciences Officer, Canadian Diabetes Association
  • Dr. Tom Warshawski, Pediatrician and Chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation
  • Geoff Craig, Chief Marketing Officer, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • Honourable Senator Nancy Greene Raine
  • Nathan Sing, Student at Ryerson University

They discussed some statistics about sugar consumption, rates of childhood obesity, and many other health concerns that will increase if changes aren't made now.

Jamie has so much energy and passion and he captivated the room as he stood up in his Canadian Tuxedo to discuss his plan to support changes in Canada through new policies that the Prime Minister makes.

I think the Ambassadors took up half of the small gathering of people.  We all got re-energized from Jamie's passion and enthusiasm.

After the Press Conference and his one on one interviews with the media he set aside time with us to do a Facebook Live with all of us.  We all tried to get our 2 cents in as Jamie shared his thoughts to the Facebook World.  It was so fun.  He asked us to tweet a message at 3pm that would get attention before his meeting with Justin Trudeau at 4pm.

We added the hashtag #JamieSpeaks4FoodRev so if you check that on twitter you can see all of our messages.

And after much love, food and attention for a couple of days then he was gone but left us all fired up ready to do whatever we can to help people lead healthier better lives.

We finally got acknowledged and thanked for our efforts and it really helped to legitimize what we have been doing individually on our own.


After spending a couple of days listening to him speak I remembered why I got inspired to join in the first place.  I agree with everything he says about food and health.  It's all about balance and education.  People need the knowledge to make the right choices and they also need access to fresh food and water to be able to live their lives fully and have a fighting chance to reach their potential.

Jamie's energy is contagious and we all got energized from his presence.
Let's see what the Toronto Team can do this year.  One of the Super Ambassadors from the Netherlands said it crossed the pond to her too.


JOIN THE REVOLUTION 

Visit Jamie's 2 Jamie's Italian Restaurants in Canada at Yorkdale and Square One.

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