Jamie Oliver returns to his roots: after years on TV and running large restaurant chains, the renowned chef seems to want a change. Also, a pop-inspired venue is on the way, inspired by his parents' old pub.
"I'm not saying that in my life, I should or could have necessarily done something else... but what I mean is that if I were born again, I would desire a normal life, knowing that anonymity is our greatest gift; nowadays, it is too often underestimated. Having enough to get by, feeling part of a community, and supporting each other... it's very, very precious." This is Jamie Oliver's response when, in an episode of the BBC Radio 4 podcast Young Again, Kirsty Young asked him, "What would you change about your life if you could go back?" as reported by The Independent.
Perhaps precisely because of this statement, certainly the result of deep thoughts, the British celebrity chef will open Catherine Street, his new restaurant in Covent Garden, London, this November. The venue for Oliver will mark a real change of direction. The Catherine Street menu will offer dishes from British culinary culture, focusing on pop offering accessible to everyone, moving away from the Mediterranean and Italian cuisine of the chef's previous venues.
"I am so happy to announce my return to the English restaurant scene, to which I am very attached, with my new @jamieolivercatherinest!! Catherine Street will be a wonderfully welcoming place, where you can eat happily, with great service and delicious food. Saying that I can't wait is an understatement," he wrote on Instagram some time ago, announcing his new adventure. After a career in constant ascent since he left his remote hometown in Essex for London at the age of 18, Oliver now needs a radical change.
Arriving in the UK capital, Jamie worked in fine dining establishments, became the first celebrity chef with "The Naked Chef," opened Fifteen, his first restaurant (sadly, now closed after the 2019 crash), and started writing books (27 published so far). But today, at the age of 48, the need is for a return to his roots. Oliver's parents ran a pub, where the chef enjoyed the dishes that shaped him and that he now wants to celebrate with the Catherine Street menu. A new project driven by the desire to step away, at least for a while, from the spotlight and to give himself the anonymity he says he has missed so much.
"My new restaurant will be an opportunity to celebrate my origins, and the dishes will be inspired by the food that shaped me. I left home at 18, it took me several years and a lot of experience to understand the richness of the values I grew up with. When I was a boy, I realized that my parents' pub was always full, but I thought it was taken for granted and obviously it wasn't. I thought everything that happened in my parents' pub was normal, but I never realized that mom and dad were pioneers," Oliver declares to the microphones of Young Again.