Ah, the penultimate episode of this short series. I hope all of the loose ends get tied up! Will Jamie get the funding he needs to train the school district cooks? Will the Edwards family improve their health? Will the high school brigade help turn around the diets of their peers? And what’s with the four-toed statue? (Oops, that’s the wrong show.)
Last week, Jamie taught a thousand people to cook a stir-fry dish, and DJ Rod’s heart grew three sizes.
Jamie makes tasty foods and deals with difficult people, after the jump!
This week’s episode opens with Jamie at the radio station, but unlike previous appearances, they’re all joking around and having a lovely time. Jamie relates the story of the only time he actually cooked naked, and ended up burning his swimsuit area. They get a call from Doug Shiels at Cabell Huntington Hospital, the biggest employer in the area. He repeats almost all of DJ Rod’s first issues with the Revolution, so now Jamie will have to meet with Doug and get him to see the plan and the purpose. Jamie also seems to think he’s going to get the $150,000 he needs from Doug. (Wait, wasn’t it $80,000 a couple of episodes ago?)
Jamie heads out to meet with hospital bigwigs, including Doug Shiels, Doug Korstanje from St. Mary’s Medical Center, and the non-Doug named Beverly McCoy, from the Marshall University School of Medicine. Jamie tells them about the progress he’s made in the schools. Shiels explains that the CDC report about Huntington being the “fattest city” has been taken incorrectly. The medical folks are happy about Jamie’s changes, but they’re defensive about the portrayal of Huntington as the unhealthiest place. They all want to interrogate Jamie about his experience so far and how the city will be perceived. Finally, they ask Jamie what he needs. He lays out the budget for the $150,000 he needs, and they tell him they’ll consider it.
In order to impress everyone, Jamie needs to make improvements in the high school. He calls an assembly in order to apologize for shutting down the french fry line. He lets the students know that fries will be available today at lunch, but he’ll also have a line open with his food, and that if enough of the students choose his food, they can roll out the program throughout the school district. He’s putting it in the kids’ hands, whether or not the program succeeds, which is a smart move — teens love being given the responsibility to make a choice.
In the kitchen, he’s given a Huntington High shirt from Marcie, signed by the kitchen staff. It’s SO nice to see a school staff behind him. Out in the hallway are painted lines on the floor for the kids to follow — the white line is burgers, green is pizza/fries, Jamie’s is the yellow line (buckwheat spaghetti with meat sauce, Caesar salad) and the black line is a salad bar. Poor black line, much less worn than the rest. As lunch starts, the kids line up, and … almost everyone is on the yellow line. The line is too big; they convert a second line over to Jamie’s food. The kids in the brigade head around the lunchroom and get opinions from the rest of the school. Rhonda shows up to see how lunch went; she gets to see the line of kids, and agrees to give Jamie all four lunch lines at the high school. Huzzah!
Back at the elementary school, Jamie gets a list of problems from Alice. But for the most part, the kids are eating at least some of the food. Unfortunately, the sugar-rich pink and brown milk bottles are back on the line. Jamie asks Rhonda about it, and she reports that the office of child nutrition was contacted, and they’re more concerned with kids getting calcium from the milk than with limiting the kids’ sugar intake. One teacher, however, told her kids to grab the regular milk, and they all did. Wonderful woman.
Jamie returns to the high school the next day, and he has a big problem — the fresh chicken that was ordered didn’t arrive. Instead, they got a bunch of breaded, pre-fried, processed chicken. He calls up Rhonda, who swears this was a one-off ordering problem. In lieu of the chicken, they throw together a last-minute barbeque sauce sloppy Joe. There’s also a macaroni and broccoli with cheese, “healthy nachos”, and a rejuvinated salad bar. The kids seem to really like the food. Although it’s interesting that quite a few of the students are drinking the strawberry or chocolate milk.
Jamie’s next stop is at US Foodservice, the place that supplies all of the schools with their foods (whether fresh or frozen). Mark, Jamie’s guide, shows him the huge freezer room. They open up a box of “cheese/cheese substitute pizza”. What on earth is cheese substitute?! The slab of pizza looks horrible. Then Mark takes Jamie into the refrigerated area with fresh meats, vegetables and fruit displayed fetchingly (clearly they laid this stuff out just so for the film crew). The distributors are willing to work with Jamie to put together purchasing lists and pricing, which is great news. But now that the channels are open, it’s more important than ever to get Doug Shiels and the rest of the medical gang to approve that $150k.
Back again to the elementary school, where strawberry milk is still on the line. The principal wants it gone as well. Government regulations say that the kids have to be offered a choice. But in accordance with the experiment, Rhonda arranges for the milkman to bring all white milk and remove the flavored kinds. Now the school is ready for a visit from Doug Sheils.
Next up is something we haven’t seen before — the Green Truck. It’s a traveling lunch truck, but it offers fresher and healthier foods. Jamie rides the Green Truck up to Cabell Huntington Hospital, and Doug Shiels comes out to chat with Jamie as hospital employees line up to buy some lunch. I’ve never eaten lunch from one of those trucks, but this one I’d totally try. Doug gets a bison burger, and agrees to visit Central City Elementary with Jamie later in the week.
The day arrives, and Jamie meets up with Doug at the school. Jamie’s biggest concern is what Alice will say to Doug. First they take a look at the kids, who are noshing down nachos. Then they chat with the principal, who lets Doug know that the kids are paying more attention and are more engaged in the classroom, and he hopes the program continues. Finally it’s time to visit in the kitchen, which has Jamie worried — in an aside, he refers to Alice’s attitude as: “[She] has a reaction to me like I’m the worst case of the galloping clap.” I love this guy’s commentary. Alice tells Doug that there are still some menus the kids don’t like, but … (huge pause) … Jamie’s got some good ideas. After Doug leaves, Alice says she think’s Jamie’s heart is in the right place. But she’s still delighted to see him head out the door.
Next week, Jamie says his goodbyes and leaves Huntington. But after he’s gone, the project appears to fall apart. And the only person who can help him is … his old nemesis, ALICE! Will it all have been for naught? Or can Huntington make permanent, positive changes? There’s only one episode left, so hopefully we’ll be left with a satisfying conclusion. And hopefully we’ll find out where he got the nickname “Hurley”. Whoops, wrong show again!
Missy normally makes her own “cheese substitute” pizza at themissy.com.