Crowd gets sneak peek at 'Revolution'
HUNTINGTON -- In the end, what Sarah Lewis hoped for was what she got.
Lewis was on-hand for the Huntington premiere of the first two episodes of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" Saturday night at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center downtown.
"I was taken aback by his passion," she said, just as the first episode came to a conclusion. "It's TV, but what you see is a genuine, thoughtful portrayal of the people here.
"It's always hard to have someone come in and question the way you've always done things," she continued, "and I think, in the big picture, they handled the whole thing pretty well."
Lewis' expressed desire for what could come from the television series, which premieres nationwide on ABC Sunday night at 10 p.m., could very well have been picked straight from Oliver's own words in the opening moments of the first show.
"I'm here to start a revolution, to plant a seed of change," he explained.
"I expect people to watch this and leave with some enthusiasm to get involved in making some changes around here," she said. "I believe in my heart this happened in Huntington for a reason. He could have gone anywhere.
"Hopefully, if we hear a little truth that hurts, it can be a motivator. It may be just what we need as a community," she continued. "My wish is that people will open their minds and their hearts to the reality we're facing, that this generation of kids is the first generation that is expected to live less time than their parents, and do something to stop it."
The evening featured a red carpet for the stars of the show who stepped out to get their first sneak peek, a VIP room filled with treats from Huntington's Kitchen and special screenings of the first two episodes of "Food Revolution." It all served as a fundraiser for Ebenezer Medical Outreach, which took over Huntington's Kitchen (formerly Jamie's Kitchen) when the television taping was concluded and Oliver left town.
Seventeen-year-old Marisa Clayton, a student at Huntington High School, is one of the show's stars in the coming weeks. She said she went to the premiere to show her support for Ebenezer Medical Outreach and the kitchen even though Oliver is no longer involved.
"It's all for the good. I'm here to help and show that I want to be a good support even though Jamie is gone," she said. "I think the program is going to be really good and it'll show that he really was here to help us."
Jackie Jackson's grandson, Robert Redman, a senior at Huntington High School, was also featured in the television series. She said it has changed Redman's life for the better.
"I just took him and his mother to Sullivan Culinary Institute (in Lexington, Ky.), which is where he wants to go. This experience led him to get started in his future, thinking about what he wanted to do after school. The show confirmed something in his spirit about cooking, it whet all of our whistles for what could be done," Jackson said. "I hope, for the community, that is has a positive message of what can be done. I think it's a little early to see results, but it's the promise of things that can come with change."
Comments following the first episode were generally upbeat and positive, with Ebenezer Medical Outreach director Yvonne Jones concluding that "you have to get through the worst to get to the best," alluding to a increasingly-positive light on Huntington as the series proceeds.
Even Rod Willis, radio announcer from 93.7 The Dawg, softened a bit. At one point in the first episode, Oliver and Willis have a heated exchange.
"It's a fun show. It's a good message and you're going to be happy when it gets to the end," Willis said, addressing the crowd just before the premiere started. "I've thought about what I would change if I could go back, and what I would say is that I shouldn't have attacked the message, but maybe just the messenger."
More about the show
"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" premieres this weekend. Here is how to read more coverage inside today's edition of The Herald-Dispatch and online:
WHEN TO WATCH: "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" at 10 p.m. Sunday, March 21, on ABC (locally that is WCHS-TV or Channel 8). ABC is calling it a sneak peak and will be offering a second chance to watch the premiere episode at 8 p.m. Friday, March 26, which will be followed by the second episode of the show at 9 p.m. Fridays will be the regular time slot for the show, which is expected to be six episodes.
ROD WILLIS: Local WDGG-FM disc jockey Rod Willis will be featured in the second episode of the series. WIllis can be seen in some of the promos for the show. You can read more about Willis' experience in today's Life section on 1D.
READ MORE MONDAY: If you miss an episode, don't worry. The Herald-Dispatch will be offering weekly recaps of the show. Read the recap of Sunday's episode in Monday's edition of The Herald-Dispatch.
KEEP UP WITH THE BLOG: The Herald-Dispatch has asked some local residents to watch the show each week and share their thoughts on the show. You can keep up with those comments on the "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" blog. To read, go to www.herald-dispatch.com, click on the Opinion section and click on the Blogs section under that.
MULTIMEDIA: Browse through photos from Oliver's time in Huntington or watch a promo video for the show and video of Marshall students participating in the production of the show by going to www.herald-dispatch.com. Once you are there, click on the Multimedia section at the top of the page.