• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:08am
NewsHong Kong

Jamie Oliver to stay away from the opening of his Hong Kong restaurant

British chef wants publicity to be on the team and the food, rather than himself, but will visit the city later

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 11:37am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 4:47am

Hold tight, Jamie Oliver fans. The opening of his planned Hong Kong outlet is still officially set for a vague "summer 2014" date but the cheeky chappy chef is unlikely to be there.

The 200-seat, 12,155 sq ft Jamie's Italian restaurant is on Tang Lung Street in Causeway Bay, sandwiched between Hennessy Road and Times Square.

Marcos Georgiou, the international chef director for the Jamie's Italian chain and his other brands, said Oliver did not like to be at restaurant openings as he felt his appearance would detract from the work of the team that opened the venue. He preferred the publicity focus to be on the restaurant rather than himself, Georgiou said.

But he reassured fans that Oliver would eventually show up in the flesh. "He loves the culture, loves the food. He is over the moon to be opening in Hong Kong. He's been out here and experienced the culture," the South African chef said.

Watch: Promotion video for Jamie's Italian Hong Kong

Georgiou has opened some 27 restaurants for Oliver in Britain and nine internationally: three in Australia, two in Dubai and one each in Dublin, Istanbul, Singapore and St Petersburg.

He is in Hong Kong to recruit staff for the restaurant.

The menu is 98 per cent finalised but still has to be approved by Oliver. Signature dishes were likely to include a prawn linguini dish that "is a big seller in every market", Georgiou said.

Also on the line-up are a spaghetti bolognaise, the Jamie Oliver burger and a prosciutto salad made with 12-month-old ham, rocket, radicchio and a light lemony dressing.

The highlight dessert is a tiramisu based on a recipe by Gennaro Contaldo, Oliver's mentor.

All the pasta that is not gluten-free will be freshly made at the restaurant every day, including spaghetti and lasagne sheets. Georgiou said the chain's restaurants made most dishes from scratch and typically churned out 50kg to 75kg of pasta a day.

The Hong Kong branch will be using mostly the same suppliers as the chain does internationally.

Can fans of the British superstar expect more Jamie's Italian restaurants in Hong Kong or mainland China?

William Lyon, chief executive of local restaurant operator Big Cat Group, which owns the rights to roll out the restaurants, said that for the moment the company was focusing on "nailing" the opening of this first restaurant.

"We have to get it right for the Hong Kong market first to have the strongest possible platform on which to grow," Lyon said.


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This article is now closed to comments

If Jamie Oliver really doesn't want the focus to be on him, then first is not to name a burger after himself and second, don't open a resto after his own name.
Why is this news even worthy of appearing on your front page, SCMP?
I think this restaurant is a franchise that is paying Jamie Oliver to use his name.... If he can't be bothered to go to his own restaurant; I can't be bothered to either....
Was this article even newsworthy? The opening of yet another Italian restaurant (yawn); the only twist is that they are paying Mr Oliver a lot of money to use his name.....
I really don't get it why that is so important to be on a Front Page??? It's nice that they are planning to open some sort of franchise in Hong Kong, so do others with a much better concept!!! Surprisingly the SCMP does not pay as much attention to local startups and concepts as they do for imported ones:-)
why is this headline news????
a british chef?! r u kidding! has anyone really tasted british cooking??
ever heard the expression, great britain: bad weather, worse food.
errrr.... Jamie's Italian? how is that British cooking?
Have YOU ever tasted British food? Britain has some of the best natural ingredients in the world from Scottish Salmon to Welsh Lamb to English Beef. But hey, don't let that get in the way of stereotyping all British food as bad because of something you have heard but never experienced. Go back to your instant noodles!
if you read it properly he says he doesn't want the focus of the opening of the restaurant to be on him
Marcos Georgiou, the international chef director for the Jamie’s Italian chain and his other brands, says that Oliver doesn’t like to be at restaurant openings as he says it detracts from the work of the team that opened the venue and he prefers the publicity focus to be on the restaurant rather than himself.


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