Karen Inge, Jamie Oliver and Maree Ferguson

OMG! Dreams do come true. I’m living proof: a major life dream of mine was recently fulfilled, and I’m STILL over the moon.

I met Jamie Oliver – staunch ally of dietitians everywhere.

How did this come about? Karen Inge and I recently attended the Business Chicks breakfast with Jamie in Melbourne. Our mission was to ask Jamie one question in the Q+A section (we hoped there would be one at the end of the breakfast!). We hoped that our question would address the current confusion in the nutrition space while suggesting that people seek nutrition advice from someone qualified, such as a dietitian.

The morning started with presentations from sponsors. Amanda Coombs, General Manager Commonwealth Bank VIC and TAS, began to speak, and Karen turned to me and said, “I know her”.

So, I suggested to Karen, “Your colleague is sitting next to Jamie – perhaps you need to go talk to her. “

Karen connects with Amanda, and then called me over to meet Jamie. Side note: Karen says she has never seen me run so fast!

I’m not sure how long we spoke with Jamie, but it seemed like a lifetime. He was so engaged, and we had an enthusiastic conversation based on our shared passion for nutrition. A connection was made — so much so, that Jamie mentioned Karen, “the nutritionist with 40 years’ experience”, twice in his presentation. He even asked her to stand up.

Mission more than accomplished!!

This demonstrates the power of relationships, connections and the breadth of your network (including outside of dietetics). There were 700 women in the room that morning, and likely less than a dozen were able to meet and speak with Jamie.

Here’s a recap of Jamie’s presentation points:

• He talked about the importance of having a good relationship with food, saying growing and cooking food was good for the soul; and said that people who grow stuff are much nicer people.

• Jamie’s passion for improving nutrition of children was clear. He is currently studying nutrition. Jamie mentioned that our children will be the first generation to live a shorter life than their parents. Jamie is about to launch a new food program “Learn your fruit and veg” in schools, and discussed teaching kids to know their fruit and vegetables. He said the best way to teach children photosynthesis is to grow vegetables — and the best way to teach maths is by cooking and baking.  Learn more and register your interest in the new school program here

• Jamie was very humble, describing himself as just a d***head from Essex. He stressed the importance of education; I loved one of his quotes — “Your capacity to be brilliant is only limited by yourself”.

• Jamie has clearly accomplished so much in the nutrition space already. And yet he talked about the many ideas he has – which sometimes only last about three minutes – and how it makes him feel like he is Dory from Finding Nemo. He recently brain-dumped his 15-year vision to one of his staff members and her response was, how the F*** are we going to achieve that? His response: “I don’t know but we are going to do it! And — just like Dory when things might be overwhelming — just keep swimming!”

I can’t wait to see what the next fifteen years brings… for him, for us, for the nutrition space.

Jamie Oliver, on behalf of dietitians around the world, we applaud you!


— By Maree Ferguson

— Edited by Laura Byrne

Add address