OT: What inspired you to become a chef?
Jamie Oliver: I grew up in my parents’ pub and I was lucky enough to always be surrounded by great food, so I think its credit to mum and dad that I decided to become a chef. I loved watching them cook and I’d always try to get involved. Dad definitely used this to his advantage, and set me to work in the kitchen at an early age, normally peeling vegetables or washing up!
OT: You’re also a campaigner for sustainable food. Over a million people have signed your 2015 Food Revolution Day petition. Tell us more about it?
Jamie Oliver: Right now, across the world, some 42 million children are overweight or obese, and more people are now dying from obesity related diseases than from malnutrition. We’re in the midst of an epidemic. I firmly believe that the way to reverse this is by educating our children about food and how it affects their bodies. Three years ago we set up Food Revolution Day, which is now an annual global event that calls for food education for all children. We’re already organising next years’ day so please keep an eye on the website foodrevolu tionday.com for more info.
OT: What took you so long to come to India? How different Jamie’s Italian will be from Jamie’s Pizzeria?
Jamie Oliver: India has always excited me, and I’ve wanted to open here for a long time, but we had to get it completely right. We’re perfectionists, so we wanted to make sure we had the right partner, the right site, the best team and suppliers. It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work, but I really feel that we now have two very special restaurants in Jamie’s Italian and the Pizzeria. Just like in the UK, Jamie’s Italian is honest, simple Italian food cooked really well, using beautiful produce at a great price. We’ll have fresh pasta made on site every day, beautiful planks of antipasti and a fantastic selection of meat and fish dishes. The pizzeria is the first of its kind overseas. It’s going to be really simple and great value. We’ve written what I think is a seriously good menu of pizzas, all of which will be made using our fresh homemade dough.
OT: What are your thoughts on Indian cuisine?
Jamie Oliver: I’m a huge fan of Indian food. I’m looking forward to learning more about it, but the delicate layering of spices really excites me. I love vegetarian food and Indian veggie dishes are some of the best in the world.
• Finely chopped red chillies: 3-4
• Finely chopped peeled garlic: 6 cloves
• Chopped tomatoes: 800g
• Organic vegetable stock: 200ml
• Penne: 400g
• Parmesan cheese: 25g
• A bunch of fresh basil leaves
• Extra virgin olive oil
For the pangrattato:
• Sourdough: 50g
• Mixed fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme): ½ bunch
• Finely chopped garlic: 1 clove
• Olive oil
Mix all the pangrattato ingredients and a lug of olive oil together in a bowl. Tip onto a baking tray, then spread out evenly and toast under the grill for 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly golden, and leave aside. Add a splash of olive oil to a large pan over a medium heat, then fry the chilli and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened and smelling fantastic, then pour in the tomatoes and veg stock and bring up to a simmer. Meanwhile, add the pasta to a pan of boiling salted water and cook. When the pasta is al dente, drain. Tip the pasta and most of the basil into the tomato sauce, then cook for a further minute or so. Divide between your plates, add shavings of parmesan, basil leaves, and some crunchy pangrattato. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then serve straight away.