South African chef Shane Smit is set to take on the role of group head chef at Jamie’s Italian, which is opening in Melrose Arch later this year.
Together with Jamie Oliver’s team, Smit is tasked with putting together a menu for the Johannesburg restaurant, as well as the Cape Town 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.
“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 Smit.
In 2008, Smit had the opportunity to work with Jamie Oliver at his first Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Oxford. 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 they do share menu items and branding across the board, all Jamie’s Italian restaurants are unique, with many of them incorporating bespoke graffiti into the design and including a local flavour in the dishes. The highly anticipated Melrose Arch branch is set to open in November 2016.