"Kids are clever. I mean I've spent the last five years working with kids in schools ... kids are amazing. And actually the biggest problem with kids today are the parents. Without question. Honestly, if you create the right environment, either at home or in the classroom at school, kids will try ... just about everything. I find them a constant inspiration, actually, kids. I mean I've worked in hundreds of schools over the last five years and I've never found kids a problem. It's always the parents."
Oliver indulges a penchant for unvarnished talk when he gets on the subject of school lunches, and what children have been taught to eat.
"For the last 40 years, people ... entrusted with a lot of responsibility to make good decisions, for say, our kids at school ... have all been idiots," he said, talking about the U.K. and the U.S. "... The way that I look at it is that adults have made very bad decisions for our kids for 40 years. And the health statistics of today are because of that. So frankly I want them all sacked, I want them all out. ... Because actually the kids want better. And when they say that, and when they tell you that their hearts have been broken because their father has died because of obesity or because of diabetes... you can't argue with that.
"I think that's why I get pissed off about it, and that's why I'm inspired to get up every morning and frankly have 10-12 hours of, you know -- a lot of what I do doesn't necessarily involve people wanting me there or liking me, and it takes quite a lot of time to get over that sort of issue. And it was the same back home in England."
The lessons of how to cook well, in no more time and for no more time than it takes to eat poorly, have been largely lost, Oliver said.
"When I look at a box of processed food that is really cheap, full of three ingredients that I understand and 50 that I don't, you know, I see it as s*** and poison and the person buying it being mugged. Do you know, it's like you are going to buy a posh Gucci handbag and actually it falls apart ...it's a bootleg. You know you can put a stew together in two minutes flat. Put it in an oven, let it cook for three hours flat, you can go out, watch football, go shopping, go to work, whatever, and come back to a house smelling like heaven.
"Some cooking is a bit of extra effort ... Actually a huge proportion of cooking is actually just really boxed-down and simple stuff, and quick, but I think America and England have had 40 years where mum and dad are both gone to work, so they're not passing the cooking down. So really cooking has been strangled over 40 years. You know, Food Network and cookbooks are all great, but really passing it on person to person is the key."
All of those lessons were driven home for Oliver by his time in Huntington, he said.
"Huntington has become a very important part of my life now, and I've fallen in love with the town and the people," he said. "And they certainly don't want to be famous for being the most unhealthy town in the country -- which they are not actually, there was never any data that said that that town was, but certainly the area has got a lot of trouble. ... I want America to see this show. ... Hopefully it's not too much to the point where people, you know, I want people to watch it for all of the right reasons."
Oliver called for more government oversight of what goes into our food.