The Food Made Good Awards was something of a trip down memory lane for Jamie Oliver. Twenty five years after starting out as a student at Westminster Kingsway College he was back on its doorstep to receive this year’s Raymond Blanc Sustainability Hero Award. And being served his lunch by current students from the college only served as a further reminder of how far the former Naked Chef had come.
Proud and visibly moved by being honoured by one of his own heroes, Jamie said that the very beige world of English food a quarter of a century ago, helped to inspire him as he learned his skills as a teenager in the kitchen.
“Any award is a great honour and this one is extra special because it bears the name of one of my heroes. Raymond is an inspiration and I’m delighted to be able to call him a friend.”
In his speech, outlining the reasons for recognising Jamie, Raymond said the chef, campaigner and presenter had for almost two decades used food as a force for good, getting the country to eat better, wherever they are.
Raymond added: “Jamie’s enthusiasm has been utterly infectious and compelling. So whether he is challenging school caterers head-on, here or in the USA, or throwing himself into campaigns with an unrelenting passion and commitment to persuade the nation to buy higher welfare chicken, Jamie carries people with him, leading them to a better place.
“Childhood obesity is one of the most important issues facing this country. Jamie has stood up to be counted, leading from the front, highlighting the problem and more importantly offering solutions, showing others acting positively can make a change. He has also done so much to uplift the image of the hospitality industry.”
The award came less than a week after George Osborne’s shock announcement that he was introducing a tax on sugary drinks from 2018, something Jamie has campaigned hard for over the last six months.
Jamie said he was optimistic about the direction in which the food industry was going. He said the binary days when you can identify the goodies and baddies are over and that it is crucial that large companies are applauded and recognised for the good work they do. “The future can be extraordinary if we work together.”