You can make a delicious meal in five minutes if you know what you’re doing, says rockstar chef Jamie Oliver

Superstar chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign against unhealthy eating habits is well known. The British chef’s grassroots campaign in Huntington, West Virginia, Food Revolution, became an Emmy Award winning sensation. The travel show, Food Escapes has Jamie travel through Europe and Africa to discover exotic cultures through traditional cuisine. There is also Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, where Jamie does just that — whip up a healthy meal in half an hour. In this email interview, Jamie talks of diet-related disease, the obesity epidemic, quick healthy meals and more. Excerpts.

Tell us how Food Revolution came to be?

I started Food Revolution 10 years ago and it is something I so profoundly believe in. The statistics of bad health are clear, very clear. Diet-related disease is the biggest killer right now and this is a global problem and it is sweeping the world. We need a revolution today, we need it and the time is now.

Why did you choose Huntington?

The (survey) results came out that this town was the unhealthiest town in America. This is a government statistic based on death, based on disease. This area is the unhealthiest in America.

How does India compare in the obesity barometer?

India has problems of obesity and bad health. But America is at the top of the list and is one of the unhealthiest countries in the world.

As a chef how do you plan to fight the obesity epidemic?

For the last seven years I’ve worked fairly tirelessly to save lives in my own way. As a chef, my goals are really to make sure that children and adults around the world are given the knowledge to be able to feed themselves and their families properly – and by that I mean with fresh ingredients, not expensive ingredients. With a bit of knowledge, you can prepare quick, affordable, delicious and nutritious meals and also understand that there’s nothing wrong with things like fast food but only as a treat, not as everyday food.

Processed foods make cooking easier but are unhealthy. What is your solution?

Cooking doesn’t have to be a slow process – you can make a delicious meal in five minutes if you know what you’re doing. You can even prepare something at home in the morning that you can eat for lunch and you’ll save money and it will probably be tastier than something you buy from a shop.

Chef as an activist. Comment.

For the last seven years I’ve worked fairly tirelessly to save lives in my own way. I’m not a doctor, I’m a chef. I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our home.

I would like to think that I’ve inspired people all over the world to try new things, to cook a bit better and to be a bit more adventurous with their cooking. I also hope I’ve inspired children to get excited about fresh food.

Do you believe in keeping food local?

Thirty years ago most of the food was local and largely fresh. Now it’s mostly processed and full of all sorts of additives and extra ingredients. Now there is a need to have new standards for fresh proper food and from local growers.

Jamie Oliver's Food Special airs on BIG CBS LOVE. Part of the Food Special is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes (Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m.), Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals (Monday to Friday at 7 p.m.)