Jamie Oliver wants you to put down the take-out menus and toss the frozen enchiladas. Tonight, you’re cooking dinner.

“Learning to cook just a few simple recipes can change your life,” says the charming British chef/megabrand, who is so concerned with people’s poor eating habits that he’s started a full on campaign against Big Macs.

“The sad truth is that if we survive on takeout food and ready meals, people are getting more unhealthy every year,” says Oliver.

“Obesity, Diabetes. You name it. We are about to see the first generation of kids with shorter life spans than their parents, and it’s sad.”

In addition to an upcoming Canadian and U.S. TV series, his new cookbook, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, is stocked with easy-to-follow, 20-minute recipes and gorgeous step-by-step photography that even the most novice of chefs can follow.

“As you start cooking, you get more confident and it gets easier and more fun,” assures
Oliver. “Start with something really basic like pancakes. I guarantee when you’ve cracked pancakes — which doesn’t take long — you’ll be wanting to do other stuff.”

But isn’t take-out cheaper and easier?

“I’m always amazed when people say they don’t cook because they haven’t got the time or haven’t got the money,” says Oliver.

“I did a live show a few years ago and every night, I would telephone the local pizza place and order pizza. I would then make pizza, on stage, from scratch — I made the dough from flour and water and a bit of yeast — and by the time the pizza delivery arrived, I’d already made mine and shared it with the audience.

“And mine was tastier and the ingredients were cheaper. So it’s simply about knowledge. That’s all it is.”