TED Prize

TED Prize winner announced!

Posted by: Matthew Trost


We’re delighted to announce the TED Prize winner for 2010: the chef who’s transforming the way we feed our children …


The prize grants him $100,000 — and something much bigger: “a wish to change the world.” He’ll unveil the wish on February 10 at TED2010 and we, the TED community, will make it come true.

Some key achievements:

  • 12 television series, seen in 130 countries
  • 10 cookbooks, translated into 29 languages, and sold almost 24 million copies in 56 countries
  • His School Dinners/Feed Me Better campaign pressured the UK government to invest $1 billion to overhaul school lunches
  • Founded the Fifteen Foundation, a social enterprise and chef apprenticeship for 18-24 yr olds. Based in London, it has been replicated through franchising in Amsterdam, Cornwall and Melbourne
  • A new TV series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution USA, is to air on ABC in 2010, bringing Jamie’s unique vision to America

At the heart of Oliver’s work is an assault on the obesity epidemic:
The CDC states that one in four Americans are considered obese. It is estimated that 43 percent of Americans, or 103 million people, will be obese by 2018. The cost of this epidemic is anticipated to reach $344 billion per year. It currently accounts for almost 10 percent of the yearly US health care costs, and that rate will rise to 21 percent by 2018. WHO’s latest projections indicate that, globally in 2005, approximately 1.6 billion adults were overweight and projects that by 2015, that figure will rise to 2.3 billion.

From the New York Times:

“… this British celebrity chef has made it his mission in recent years to break people’s dependence on fast food, believing that if they can learn to cook just a handful of dishes, they’ll get hooked on eating healthfully. The joy of a home-cooked meal, rudimentary as it sounds, has been at the core of his career from the start, and as he has matured, it has turned into a platform.”

Just one winner?

Those who’ve followed the TED Prize in recent years will know that in prior years we’ve announced three winners, not one. For 2010, the fifth-year anniversary of the launch of the prize, we’re doing things differently.

When we first created the TED Prize, we envisioned supporting projects that could be completed in 12 months. But our winners have dreamed up wishes more powerful, more wonderful than we ever could have imagined, and we’ve found that we simply don’t want to stop that quickly! Members of the community are getting passionately engaged in these projects, and they’re not shy to tell us that changing the world can take more than a year … To effect real impact, it’s right to stay involved and sustain the effort.

We agree. And that means it would be a mistake to add three brand-new wishes every year. There are already 15 TED Prize projects, and at least half of them still require our engagement. Adding too many more risks dilution of effort.

Therefore, after discussion with various wise souls in the community, we are moving to a new format of ONE new winner every year. At the same time, we’re increasing our capacity to facilitate your amazing efforts on the existing wishes:

There has been exciting progress on all these projects and we can see that there’s much more to come.

It’s incredibly exciting to welcome Jamie Oliver to join our line-up of change catalysts. And exciting, too, to know that our existing winners are going to stay at the heart of the TED community, as we continue working to realize their inspirational visions for a better future.

Comments (29)

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  • John Lumley commented on Mar 28 2010

    Disappointed? NOT at all. When you look at the future of this country and the world who follows our lead…or did…….the example needs to be set. We had it in our grasp when we were young and everyone has bought into the fast paced lifestyle… Jamie Oliver offers us what this country was……..based on the basics that made us great….and it does start at home and the fuel for the folks who step up to the plate every day needs to be what it was…. sustainable and healthy……… not the processed chemical preserved whatever that we have been told meets our needs. Looking at my own heritage, grandparents who were 97 and 103, 89 etc., both sides of the family; they ate fried potatoes, side pork, salt, sugar and other ingredients that are told we shouldn’t have now….BUT THE FOOD was real and the amounts they consumed were minimal BUT WERE PUT ON THEIR FOOD by theirselves. Not infused in some purported beneficial food item. TIME TO CHANGE FOLKS. I’m with you Jamie!

  • David Hobbs commented on Feb 26 2010

    Brilliant choice! Jamie Oliver has the charisma, high public profile and food knowledge to actually pull this off, compared to many alternatives. And obesity IS a massively serious issue we all need to be concerned about. I even blogged about Jamie’s win on our LiveLifeLoseWeight.com website. I heartily applaud this choice TED!

  • Laurel Stanford commented on Feb 16 2010

    While on the PTA, I tried to make healthful changes to my daughter’s school lunch program, and to prevent parents from bringing unhealthful treats into the classrooms for birthdays, etc. I was shot down left, right and center by parents who felt that I was some sort of witch, proselytizing the health-food mantra. I applaud Jamie, but he’s got an uphill climb ahead of him.

  • Molly Chester commented on Feb 6 2010

    I was thrilled by this news. Jamie Oliver is such an inspiration for me, and his passion for real food that can change lives is palpable and real. He’s got a life ahead of him for great work, and he’s obviously got the guts to live it well. Kudos to TED for a great choice!

  • Sally Forth commented on Feb 1 2010

    You stunned me with this announcement. I heartily approve of your choice and look forward to his prize wish on Feb 10, 2010.

    You summed it up best by commenting “At the heart of Oliver’s work is an assault on the obesity epidemic…, [he's] “transforming the way we feed our children …

    It’s a universal problem desperately needing help and with TED’s backing and TED’s pulpit, Jamie Oliver can reach a wider audience and impact more children and their future.

    In closing, I’m happily astonished at TED’s visionary choice.

  • Malee Holland commented on Jan 16 2010

    I’ve been members of both his JamieOliver.com community and this one. It’s great to see them working together! I plan to support his wish with the same commitment I’d given to Pangea Day and the Charter for Compassion.

  • Lou Rosenberg commented on Jan 3 2010

    Great choice, TED! I’m really happy for him. . But…what’s with the pig? More than a little Swiftian, don’t you think?

  • michael daly commented on Dec 23 2009

    well done jamie and well deserved may i say so nice to see you honoured in such a way.

  • Pablo Feron commented on Dec 22 2009

    It’s sad to see TED fall so far below the mark

    • Letiely Rodriguez commented on Feb 11 2010

      So you feel like many people around the world with the last Nobel Peace Prize…

  • Simon Yan commented on Dec 22 2009

    Despite the fact I’m a huge fan of Jamie’s, I still think the prize should go for someone else.

    • Letiely Rodriguez commented on Feb 11 2010

      Like Obama Nobel, right!

    • Laurel Stanford commented on Feb 16 2010

      Oh, even though he is actually doing something about the NUMBER ONE KILLER IN THE UNITED STATES. Did you even watch the talk and his statistics?

  • Cara Gillespie commented on Dec 22 2009

    I’m a new TED fan and sorry to say that I’m really disappointed by this. Jamie Oliver is best known in the UK for his lucrative advertising contract with Sainsbury’s, one of the ‘big 4′ supermarkets that control over 80% of the UK food supply. Yes Jamie has done some good work in schools, but not nearly as much as some other UK campaigners and in my view it is completely undermined by his willingness to be the champion of industrial food production and corporate control of the food economy. The last thing this multi-millionaire needs is a

    • Laurel Stanford commented on Feb 16 2010

      It’s his lucrative advertising contract that gives him the funds to do his charity work. Something has to pay for it. He originally mortgaged his own house, to pay for one of his projects. He may not have done as much as other campaigners, but he is visible and well-liked, and that makes a huge difference in garnering support.

  • Garlic Confit commented on Dec 22 2009

    I am saddened to see TED fall so far below the mark. What a shame to mark such a momentous occasion with an easy, media grabbing choice for the TED prize. Unfortunately you have lost an avid follower.

    • Lou Rosenberg commented on Jan 3 2010

      I respectfully disagree completely. Mr. Oliver has done more for humanity in his short time than most do over a long and full lifetime. Please reread Oliver’s bio and reconsider your assessment of him.

    • Malee Holland commented on Jan 16 2010

      I agree with Lou. I don’t make support decisions lightly. Jamie has worked very hard in his community and beyond, and is sincere in his agenda. “Fifteen” alone has been a game-changer for so many youth who otherwise may have not had such a chance to build on their strengths in the kitchen.

  • Eleanor Banwell commented on Dec 22 2009

    Surprised and pleased. Well done Jamie :) I’m sure your wish will be a good one.

  • Janet Lee commented on Dec 21 2009

    Amazing! This really was a pleasant surprise!

  • Madison Bryden commented on Dec 21 2009

    Wo00ooot for Jamie Oliver!

  • Gemma Grace commented on Dec 21 2009

    Hooray for Jamie Oliver ~ a brilliant light in the world! February 10th will be a grand day.

  • Tahnee Pantig commented on Dec 21 2009

    Amazing! I’m very excited to hear what his TED wish will be.

    • Petra P commented on Dec 22 2009

      Me too, congratulations Jamie.