Where Jamie gets his yummies
SIRIN FARM IN CHIANG RAI SHOWS WHAT’S POSSIBLE WITH CAREFUL, CONSIDERATE PROCEDURES
THE BANGKOK branch of Jamie’s Italian, the restaurant chain owned by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, follows the essence of his philosophy – relying strictly on freerange, sustainable and ethically produced ingredients.
Since the restaurant’s opening late last year at Siam Discovery, management and cooks have worked closely with local farms in adhering to that approach.
“More than 70 per cent of the produce we use here is local,” says general manager Sarah Smith.
“Food standards and nutrition go hand in hand at Jamie’s Italian. Animal welfare and sustainability are particularly important to us. Our head chef, Alex Barman, is always looking for local suppliers who fit in with our food ethos.”
The free-range, herb-fed pork comes from Sloane’s, the cheese from Mille Stelle, the breads from Maison Jean Philippe, and the fruit and vegetables from Delish.
The chicken arrives from the Sirin sustainable farm in Chiang Rai run by Songkran Grachangnetara and his actress wife Kathaleeya.
The couple follow the principles of “Korean natural farming”, which takes advantage of indigenous bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa to produce fertile soil that yields high output without the need for herbicides or pesticides.
“A lot of different procedures are involved in meeting the food standards of Jamie’s Italian,” says Songkran. “They pay attention to every detail, from farming methods and feeding and butchering to hygiene.
“We started this farm to raise healthy and high-quality produce for our own children. We don’t want them eating eggs and chicken that have been injected with hormones. So we began breeding Bresse chickens and started selling them on the market two years ago.”
The 50-rai farm in Muang Chiang Rai has several thousand chickens raised on homegrown fermented feed, mostly corn. They also raise pure, certified Berkshire pigs and Lowline Angus cattle, though not yet enough to meet market demand. They grow jasmine rice too, and expect to have enough to take it to market next year.
“The farm is zero-waste because we follow the Korean method of natural farming,” says Songkran. “Through the magic of EM [efficient micro-organisms], all our animal waste is converted into the best organic fertiliser nature can produce. So we don’t have to use antibiotics, growth hormones or chemical fertilisers.”
Sirin Farm’s chickens develop for about 65 days before going to market, more than twice as long as those raised industrially. The birds grow to at least two kilograms in weight, on feed that contains no artificial colouring or flavouring. Songkran says the meat is succulent and the chickens’ skin has a unique bright-yellow tinge.
Chickens and eggs are delivered directly to the customer’s door and the chef’s restaurant.
Some of those birds end up as Chicken al Mattone at Jamie’s, a top seller at Bt540.
You get half a marinated, grilled chicken with lemony rocket and Parmesan, plus a choice between creamy wild-mushroom sauce or a spicy combination of tomato, aubergine and black olive.
The traditional Tuscan dish involves grilling the meat under a brick, whose weight keeps it pressed against the grate. The result is smoky, juicy and intensely flavoured chicken with crisp skin.
Chicken Caesar Salad (Bt520) again has char-grilled meat, this time with crispy romaine, red chicory, crunchy croutons, Parmesan, red onion, toasted hazelnuts, chervil and a garlicky dressing.
The loft- style, 200-seat, glasswrapped restaurant boasts a mix of rustic refectory tables of reclaimed timber and industrial-zinc tables, along with tile flooring hand-painted with floral designs.
Several dazzling new seasonal dishes have just been added to the menu, all Italian classics with a creative twist.
Jamie’s Italian Bangkok works closely with local suppliers to obtain ingredients that are sustainably and ethically produced.
Songkran and Kathaleeya Grachangnetara, founders of Sirin Farm
Al Mattone is marinated chicken with creamy wild-mushroom sauce
Al Mattone with a spicy sauce of tomato, aubergine and black olive
Chicken Caesar Salad