British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is set to launch his famous Italian restaurant chain in Delhi, the first in the country with plans to expand to cities across India. The high-street Jamie's Italian, which has 30 restaurants across the world and Jamie's Pizzeria two sustainable eating restaurant brands would open this autumn, promoters said.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be bringing Jamie's Italian and Jamie's Pizzeria to India. Delhi is a vibrant, colourful, buzzing city with an already incredible food scene, so to be opening two restaurants there is a huge honour," Oliver said in a statement. Both brands are promoted by a joint venture between International Market Management, a London investment and management company and Carnation Hospitality, a Delhi based business. The promoters also control a range of other well-known brands in India including Wendy's and Barista.
"We chose Delhi because we found a great launch site and feel that we can offer something new to the market, this is to say highly accessible, affordable restaurants serving great quality Italian food sourced with the greatest care," Jasper Reid, an entrepreneur and the founder of International Market Management Ltd (IMM) said. Jamie's Italian is a 120-130 seat restaurant serving a full Italian menu "priced at a very affordable level."
"We'll serve fresh pasta made in the restaurant, grills, healthy salads, cold cut planks, innovative sides and starters, pizzas and of course desserts. The restaurant design is modern, beautiful, comfortable and in keeping with Jamie's restaurants around the world in London, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo, Moscow etc," Reid said. Jamie's Pizzeria is a 50-60 seat restaurant that serves innovative and delicious thin crust pizzas, salads, sides and desserts.
"It's a fun and easy-going place offering customers the highest quality but at amazing value. The plan is for customers to get a yummy pizza and a drink for around Rs 400 to Rs 450. We feel there may be a gap in the market for this quality and this price," Reid said. The menu for the restaurants will remain true to that of "bold, big flavoured and full of familiar tastes" served everywhere else in the world. The chef has 63 restaurants in 11 countries.
"But we haven't developed anything specific for India... Just chosen Jamie's dishes which tend to work all round the world. "Of course we've increased the vegetarian range and focused on crowd-pleasing dishes like cold-cut veg and non veg planks, risotto, prawn linguine, tagliatelle Bolognese, fresh baked bread, a lamb burger, grilled pork chops, superfood salad, ice cream, tiramisu, brownies and much much more," Reed said.
While the menu of the pizzeria is being kept under wraps until the launch, the range promises to be "imagination grabbing" including a super-hot pizza with five different types of chilli. The Jamie Oliver restaurants are set to come up in Ambiance mall, Vasant Kunj and Ambiance mall in Gurgaon. Oliver who is passionate about standards of welfare, sustainability, healthiness and safety had several years ago initiated a campaign among British schoolchildren towards eating healthy foods and cutting out junk food.
"It has taken us almost two years to assemble our ingredients and we feel that we are offering our customers the best possible assurance that the ingredients and food is of the highest quality and integrity. This really matters to people now," Reid said about the upcoming restaurants in Delhi.
Senior chefs and all the managers of the two new restaurants have been trained in the UK by Jamie Oliver's team for many months and been inducted in to the "Jamie's way of service". Asked about the association of Pizzas being junk food Reid said, "There's no junk in our pizzas! Of course we know the associations but we feel that the mood is changing and customers want to see better, healthier options." Reid said "dough is handmade every day in the restaurant, tomatoes are best Italian; cheeses are from superb local and dedicated suppliers; seasonal veggies are from across India; cold cuts are of fine-dining standard."
Explaining the approach to his restaurants, Oliver said, "Since I was a teenager, I've been totally besotted by the love, passion and verve for food, family and life itself that just about all the Italian people have, no matter where they're from or how rich or poor they may be. And that's what I'm passionate about - good food for everyone, no matter what".
Oliver's India restaurants are keeping in tune with expansion plans of the chef in Brazil, India and China. The chef is known for over 30 food-focussed TV shows, such as "The Naked Chef" which is a reference to the food being stripped down to essentials. He has sold 37 million books to date including several cookbooks. He has also been an active participant in global campaign for better food education. The chef already has restaurants in operation in England, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, Russia, Sinagapore, Dubai and Toronto among other places.