There aren’t many reasons I’d make a mad dash across London just as a tube strike is due to start when I’d only got off a long-haul flight (from Seattle) that morning; but on Monday night that’s exactly what I did, because frankly, the opportunity to meet Jamie Oliver was simply too good to miss. I was invited to the event at Jamie’s Italian in Piccadilly as a Royal Mum to celebrate Jamie’s partnership with Royal Caribbean, which will see him opening Jamie’s Italian at sea – first on Quantum of the Seas, and then on Anthem of the Seas. We started off with drinks on the roof terrace, and when Jamie walked in (wearing one of his trademark checked shirts) he insisted on meeting everyone individually before starting the press conference. He is instantly likeable, utterly charming and very attractive *cough*. (You’ll have to ignore my puffy eyes – I was very jetlagged). What I absolutely loved about him is that he is so eloquent and passionate when he speaks – but also very funny and surprisingly candid. He told us that he and his team were “beyond buzzed up” to be working with Royal Caribbean, and talked about how he used to love going on Royal Caribbean cruises with his family when he was a kid. He also said that he couldn’t wait to get on board with his family. “I’ve got four kids that are feral that I’d love to hand over to the Royal Caribbean team,” he said. He also revealed that on May 16, Food Revolution Day, the Jamie Oliver group is going to give a million children a cooking lesson. “We start off in Sydney at the Olympic Stadium with 3,300 kids and we’re going to beat the current world record.”
Afterwards we all went downstairs for a private dining experience featuring some of the highlights from the Jamie’s Italian menu that will be served on Quantum of the Seas. This was my first experience of eating at Jamie’s Italian but I knew it was going to be good when I saw the planks – the famous antipasti served on wooden planks, covered in all kinds of deliciousness including cheese and jam and lots of cured meats.
Then it was on to the pasta course – absolutely wonderful, as good as any I’ve had in Italy, particularly the tagliatelle served with truffle oil – before moving on to the piece de resistance: the Signature Porchetta, a slow-cooked pork belly filled with herbs, garlic and spices, served with fennel crackling and watercress salad. It was extraordinarily good and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.
I also fell in love with the London-themed Banksy-style wallpaper. WANT.
I guarantee Jamie’s Italian will be fully booked every night on Quantum of the Seas. I can’t wait to get on board.