Jamie’s Auck­land restau­rant plan

Herald on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­dra Newlove

Jamie Oliver has hinted that plans to open his first New Zealand restau­rant are back on the ta­ble.

In an in­ter­view with the Her­ald on Sun­day, Oliver said he was keen to see his long-awaited plans to open shop in New Zealand come to fruition. A Jamie’s Ital­ian — the chef’s best-known restau­rant chain — could open in Auck­land next year.

Oliver has been keen to ex­pand his Jamie’s Ital­ian chain here since at least early 2015.

But his ini­tial hope to open stores in Welling­ton and Auck­land last year fell through af­ter the com­pany that ran his Aus­tralian op­er­a­tions went into re­ceiver­ship.

But in an in­ter­view pro­mot­ing his lat­est book, 5 In­gre­di­ents — Quick & Easy Food, the much-loved Bri­tish chef said a New Zealand restau­rant was now back on the agenda.

“We were go­ing to go Welling­ton, but I think prob­a­bly, it’s sen­si­ble to go Auck­land first,” he said.

The com­pany that runs Jamie’s Ital­ian restau­rants in Aus­tralia, Key­stone Hos­pi­tal­ity Group, went into re­ceiver­ship in June last year.

In Novem­ber, Oliver bought back the six Aus­tralian fran­chises.

Be­fore the col­lapse of Key­stone, a post on Oliver’s web­site stated: “I can’t wait to open our first restau­rant in New Zealand.

“We’ve been look­ing for the per­fect site for a long time now and I re­ally feel that we’ve found it in Welling­ton. Jamie’s Ital­ian is the per­fect place to bring the fam­ily and get stuck in to some fan­tas­tic food and right now we’re look­ing for amaz­ing sup­pli­ers, some­thing I’m sure we’re not go­ing to be short of in New Zealand!”

It has pre­vi­ously been re­ported that the pre­ferred Welling­ton site for a new restau­rant was in the cap­i­tal’s Old Public Trust Build­ing.

A likely Auck­land restau­rant site was in Queen’s Rise; the ex-BNZ build­ing at 125 Queen St.

Oliver has been on a mis­sion to make food health­ier, cam­paign­ing for bet­ter school lunches in the UK, and for a sugar tax.

Auck­lan­ders may get a chance to sam­ple Jamie Oliver’s de­li­cious Ital­ian dishes if restau­rant plans for the city go ahead.

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