Jamie Oliver re­calls some very Bri­tish sea­side holidays

The celebrity chef rates moun­tains and lush ru­ral coun­try but oh, he does love to be be­side the sea­side.

Qantas - - Contents -

Where are you right now? I’m at Jamie’s Ital­ian in Pic­cadilly, work­ing on some new menu dishes with the chefs. Where did you go on your last trip? My last work trip was to Naples with [chef] Gen­naro Con­taldo for a new TV show and my last fam­ily hol­i­day was a long week­end in Reyk­javík [in Ice­land] with my wife, Jools. She and I did all the touristy stuff, which was a to­tal job. The stand­outs were brows­ing the flea mar­kets, do­ing a Golden Cir­cle tour and a south coast tour and, of course, see­ing the North­ern Lights. What was your typ­i­cal child­hood hol­i­day? Most sum­mers, we went on sea­side holidays in the UK, to Corn­wall, Devon, Wales or the Nor­folk Broads – very sim­ple, clas­sic Bri­tish holidays. Some­times we camped, some­times we stayed in car­a­vans or B&Bs. But once ev­ery two or three years, we’d go some­where nice and hot, like Madeira or the Al­garve in Por­tu­gal. Do you wan­der the streets or check maps? I’m a wan­derer. My life is al­ways crazy, mov­ing quickly from place to place, so if the op­por­tu­nity arises just to wan­der and get lost for a bit, I love it. Which des­ti­na­tions do you keep re­turn­ing to? Corn­wall, for me, is about fam­ily and I love tak­ing my kids there. And I’ll never get bored of Italy; it’s my in­spi­ra­tion for many things. What’s the great­est road trip you’ve done? I’ve done one in Amer­ica on my own for work but never as a fam­ily. I’d love to do that with them – I crave it. Have you ever ex­pe­ri­enced cul­ture shock? The peo­ple were in­trigu­ing in Ja­pan; ev­ery­one I met had a story. I’d also say Palermo, in Si­cily; it’s a bril­liant, de­li­cious, hi­lar­i­ous place that al­ways seems to be sec­onds away from to­tal an­ar­chy... in a good way!

“PALERMO, IN SI­CILY, IS A BRIL­LIANT, DE­LI­CIOUS, HI­LAR­I­OUS PLACE THAT AL­WAYS SEEMS TO BE SEC­ONDS AWAY FROM TO­TAL AN­AR­CHY... IN A GOOD WAY!”

What’s the worst place you’ve been lost? I got lost at 2am in Switzer­land re­cently when I was a lit­tle merry and I sledged the wrong way down a moun­tain. I then had to find my way back to civil­i­sa­tion. Luck­ily, it was a full moon so I wasn’t too scared. When you go away, what are you most likely to bring home? Good whisky and tequila, new sun­glasses, choco­lates for my wife and some gifts for the kids, of course. Re­sort or rus­tic? Rus­tic. When you walk into a ho­tel room, what’s the first thing you look for? I check out the bath­room. I love a good bath. What do you like to find in the ho­tel mini­bar? You know what? I never con­sider look­ing in the mini­bar so it’s of­ten not even used. Where’s your home away from home? I’ve got a won­der­ful old wooden boat on the Nor­folk Broads. She’s nearly 60 years old, all wood, cute as hell and has the cosiest, snug­gli­est bed and tiny kitchen – I love it. Which desti­na­tion was a sur­prise to you? Re­cently, I’d say Turin [in North­ern Italy]. It’s such a bril­liant city with so much to of­fer, both new and old. It has coun­try­side and moun­tains butting right up to the city, plus the French bor­der on the doorstep. Have you ever gone com­pletely off the grid? I tried to about 10 years ago. I’d rather not say where I went or what I did but it didn’t last long. I ac­tu­ally didn’t like it much. Also, it failed be­cause my PA is too ef­fi­cient and tracked me down. Have you ever been fleeced? On hol­i­day, in life, at work – loads. Too reg­u­larly, to be hon­est. Where would you like to take your chil­dren? Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Peru, San Fran­cisco. I’ve been lucky enough to see the world and I want the same for them. It changes you as a per­son, for the bet­ter. When you’re in a foreign city for work, do you try to get out and see the sights? I’m a mas­sive believer in see­ing the pre­dictable sights but also get­ting out and about to seek out hid­den gems – the con­trast of both makes travel re­ally spe­cial. I did the Syd­ney Har­bour BridgeClimb on one trip and bloody loved it. What’s been your most memorable din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence? I’ve had so many ex­pe­ri­ences that re­volve around the warmth and gen­eros­ity of peo­ple that it’s too hard to choose. If you smile and ask ques­tions about what peo­ple are do­ing, they tend to re­ally look after you. I’ve done that in many coun­tries, of­ten where there’s a lan­guage bar­rier. With point­ing, smil­ing, your eyes and good en­ergy, you can com­mu­ni­cate very well. If you could be any­where else in the world right now, where would you be? I’ve never done a white-sand hol­i­day in my life and I feel like I need one. Even more than that, my wife needs one, be­cause hav­ing five kids means we’re re­ally busy.

Palermo was the first stop in Jamie’s Great Ital­ian Es­cape

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