A South African chef is set to take the helm of the first Jamie’s Italian on our shores, which is opening in Melrose Arch later this year. Shane Smit will fill the role of group head chef for the highly anticipated restaurant, which is set to switch on the lights in November.
Together with Jamie Oliver’s team, Shane will put together a menu full of local flavour and Italian inspiration for the Johannesburg restaurant, as well as the Cape Town Jamie’s Italian branch (whose exact location is yet to be announced) and the further three Jamie’s Italian restaurants expected to open in the next seven years in South Africa.
Hailing from Springs, Gauteng, Shane has experience working with Jamie and his team at the first Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Oxford, which opened in 2008. Returning to South Africa, Shane then worked in numerous five-star establishments and consulted for restaurants across the country. More recently he held the position of executive chef for the Mount Edgecombe Country Club in Durban.
While the menu is still being finalised for Jamie’s Italian, we do know that at the core of the brand is good pasta, made on site, and food that showcases the beauty of Italian cuisine – simple dishes that make regional ingredients the hero. However, we can confirm that more playful items will also appear, such as Italian nachos, pictured below.
“Being able to really localise the type of dishes served at Jamie’s Italian, thanks to the relationship we have with local farmers and producers, makes the process of whatever is served, and the final product, really genuine and honest,” says Shane.
While they do share menu items and branding across the board, all Jamie’s Italian stores are unique, with many of them incorporating bespoke graffiti into the design. We look forward to seeing how the restaurant in Melrose Arch, a centre known for its high-end fashion outlets and stylish restaurants, will turn out, as construction draws to a close over the next few months. Keep an eye on Eat Out for details. In the meantime, follow @JamiesItalianSA on Instagram.