The past few years have seen the arrival of several celebrity chefs, from Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa, whose restaurant Nobu is still going strong as the local power-broker commissary, to Anthony Bourdain’s visit for his TV special, Parts Unknown. The latest news on the fast-developing culinary scene in Budapest is the imminent arrival of one of the most recognizable celebrity chefs around: Jamie Oliver, who will be helping open an Italian eatery in the Castle District come spring. Budapest will then join Rotterdam, Moscow, and Istanbul in the distinction of hosting a Jamie’s Italian brand restaurant.
Oliver became one of the world’s most recognizable chefs via his cooking show The Naked Chef in the UK and his heroic efforts to bring healthy, whole food to school lunch programs in the US on his show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Oliver’s global brand includes dozens of Jamie’s Italian restaurants, over 20 cookbooks, and multiple TV series that run from reality-based cooking shows to culinary travelogues. As his reach has extended even into video games, he might be the most diversified chef on the planet. Various sources list him as the second wealthiest celebrity chef, behind America’s Alan Wong. While Oliver has never before visited Budapest on a professional level, his series Jamie at Home ran on Hungarian television, so his face will also be familiar to local food enthusiasts.
Jamie’s Italian will take over the space currently occupied by the restaurant Hadik in Buda’s Castle District. While it is not known how much involvement Oliver will have in the restaurant’s day-to-day operation, all the cuisine will be based on his recipes and concept. So, while we don’t expect to see him pinching fruit at the Central Market Hall, we are confident Jamie’s Italian and Budapest will pair well together.
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