On Tuesday 5th June, Jamie Oliver himself kindly shared his exciting new summer menu with us at a tasting event held for 50 lucky competition winners and select media (such as TOG) at Jamie’s Italian Oxford.
The evening commenced with a prosecco reception and a wide variety of tasty canapés on offer, from prosciutto and salami, to pâtés and buffalo mozzarella.
To our excitement, Jamie himself soon appeared, alongside co-chef Gennaro Contaldo, who were all too happy to pose for selfies, and chat to us individually, whether it was describing the delicacies in store for us today, or even discussing That Oxford Girl!
After a warm welcome, we moved through to the dining room, where we took our seats, sat back, and tuned in to Jamie talking through his favourite dishes from the new seasonal menu, including creamy burrata - the king of the mozzarella world, salmon bruschetta, and steak tagliata. The whole experience felt very much like sitting on the front row for a television cooking show!
Jamie then introduced one of the younger chefs in the kitchen, who highlighted that Jamie’s Italian stick to their principles, even in a changing industry, by sourcing from sustainable fisheries, and having the comfort of knowing exactly which farms the food on your plate is coming from. From the young man’s speech alone, you could sense that there was a great ethos in the place, with so much passion for delivering good, honest food – something that commercialisation so often disregards.
There was also time for a quick round of Q&A, and, on the theme of access, one question was particularly memorable, regarding the good work of Jamie’s Italian access scheme, which invites local primary school children, many of whom would have never had the chance to eat in a restaurant, along to food classes, where they can sample new delicacies, cultures, and importantly, take up an interest, since cooking needn’t be seen as a hobby for the wealthy, but instead as an essential life skill – something we can all take for granted in the world of take-aways and microwave meals.
Last but certainly not least, we were then treated to a sumptuous Italian feast, where we could enjoy an array of new dishes, my personal favourite being the seafood linguine, which boasted a great variety of flavours and textures.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Jamie’s Italian, since the staff were brilliant throughout the evening, along with the food, and of course our hosts, Jamie and Gennaro.
I will definitely be back soon, especially with the £10 voucher enclosed inside each of Jamie’s hand-signed cook-books: 5 Ingredients – quick and easy food, which were presented as gifts to each guest.