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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

ABC's "Food Revolution" inspires LAUSD to open its kitchen

The school district invited the media to taste its new menu options after the show criticized LAUSD meals

The LAUSD invited the media into its Newman Nutrition Center, the district’s central kitchen facility, to sample its food and review its upcoming menu options Wednesday.

The event followed Tuesday’s night’s episode of ABC’s “Food Revolution,” hosted by television chef Jamie Oliver, in which the LAUSD meals were compared to “airplane food.”

In the episode of “Food Revolution,” Oliver approached the LAUSD board and asked for permission to film inside the schools for his show. The district did not allow him in its schools.

"The food that we serve is healthy and nutritious and very good quality,’’ according to David Binkle, deputy director of the district’s food services.

According to the district, new menus are being developed for the 2011-12 school year, with entrees such as Salvadorian beef stew, chicken Tandoori, Asian pad Thai, California sushi roll and teriyaki beef and broccoli with brown
rice.

Dennis Barrett, director of food services for the district, said the LAUSD invited Oliver to “be a part of our menu development, but just leave the cameras away.’’

A trademark of Oliver’s show is its use of massive demonstrations to show viewers the sheer volume of calories, fats, and sugars being consumed by children in various school districts across the country. Tuesday’s episode featured a truck dumping tons of sugar into a school bus to demonstrate how much sugar students in the LAUSD consume in flavored milk each week.

The LAUSD serves more than 122 million student meals a year.

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