TV chef Gennaro Contaldo was overseeing the finishing touches to Jamie's Italian in Newcastle yesterday
Gennaro Contaldo, Jamie Oliver's business partner, at the new Jamie Oliver restaurant in Newcastle
Greedy Italian TV chef, Gennaro Contaldo was overseeing the finishing touches to Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in Newcastle yesterday.
Gennaro, Jamie's business partner and mentor, as well as the star of the popular BBC series Two Greedy Italians alongside Antonio Carluccio, visited Tyneside last week to give the 102 new members of staff at Jamie's Italian a pasta-making lesson... and was back to see them in action as they prepare for Monday's opening night.
This week, hundreds of lucky practice patrons are being served at the yet-to-open eatery in the newly-refurbished Monument Mall as the kitchen and front-of-house teams complete the final stage of their training.
"It's wonderful to see everyone so excited and full of energy," said Gennaro, who heads up the Jamie's Italian restaurant family with its namesake.
Now boasting 35 restaurants across the UK and another 10 internationally including Dubai, Australia and Singapore, the chain has won thousands of fans all over the UK for its simple, tasty dishes made from fresh and seasonal produce. And Gennaro couldn't be happier Geordies are about to get a flavour of what's on offer.
"I really love it here, look at that view," he enthused, gesturing at the famous downward sweep of Grey Street from our table upstairs.
"The last time I was here was probably 30 years ago, So much has changed. It seems so much brighter."
The same could be said for the interior of the restaurant, which mixes stripped wood, leather seating and industrial-style to striking effect over two floors. Meanwhile diners will be able to see where their food and drink is coming from thanks to open-plan kitchens, which include a wood burning stove and cocktail bar.
"We're absolutely delighted with the location. We do the best food, so why not open at the best place?" said Gennaro, who mentored a young Jamie when he was head chef at Antonio Carluccio's Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden.
"Back then Jamie had a dream one day we would open restaurants all over the country, making great, simple and affordable Italian food. And we have done it. I'm delighted Newcastle now has one." Recently Published
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