Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snippets From London part 2, Lunch at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen

The only definite plans we had for London was a standing lunch reservation at Jamie Oliver's 15. 15 is off the beaten path a bit, in an area of London we hardly spent any time. Rumor has it, the area is up and coming (don't ask me, I was just a tourist). The neighborhood felt industrial and was situated just adjacent to a very large hospital. Of course the day was chilly and even raining for a few moments, but when we arrived the restaurant was warm and inviting. The staff at 15 were beyond exceptional, they made us feel like we were simply a guest in their home. Take that all you pretentious celebrity chefs, Jamie Oliver knows how to treat his customers right. I felt at one moment like I should invite one of the staff members to sit and eat with us, he was absolutely delightful.

Beyond the anticipation of eating at a "cheflebrity's" restaurant, there is an amazing story behind 15. Taken from their website:

"Fifteen’s purpose is two-fold: firstly to offer young people, often in need of a break in life, the experience of learning to work in the restaurant business and secondly, for our customers to enjoy fantastic food and knowledgeable customer service. The restaurant is the trading arm of a registered charity, the Jamie Oliver Foundation (no.1094536), and the profits go towards the apprenticeship scheme."

Basically Jamie has turned his restaurant into a place to train chefs, young men and women that really needed a second chance at life after a bad run very early on. Some of them have just recently been released from jail, they spend their days taking college classes and work at night. They are identified in the restaurant by the black hats they wear. The apprentices work along side Jamie's professional staff.

Jamie Oliver is truly tops in the world of chefs, the work he is doing for school children, young men and women, and even in America. I wish I could've met him, for he's someone to admire and be inspired by. I love when successful people give back. Amazing work Jamie, it made me feel proud to be supporting such a visionary chef.

Now the food. Two antipasti dishes were ordered at our table, Mozzarella di bufala Campana with dressed winter greens and chilli-mint dressing. The mozzarella melted in my mouth, the dressing left your palate wondering, curious as to what flavors were delighting your taste buds. Wonderfully balanced flavors.

Fantastic salad of dressed celeriac, apple, roasted hazelnuts, parmesan and truffle dressing,

Primi dish, ravioli of baked ricotta, caprino and pecorino in a lemon butter broth with pangrattato, I enjoyed this dish for it's simplicity. I was longing for some vegetables or tomatoes to accompany it, but in reality as it stood the flavors of the pecorino and lemon butter broth were just subtly delightful.

Secondi dish, Gratin of winter root vegetables with wild mushrooms, chilli, garlic, and thyme salmoriglio,

A beautiful cappuccino,

Jamie's upbeat and charming television personality, really shines through as the real deal when eating at his place. Take for example the whimsical signs directing patrons to the Loo. Speaking of Loo, while in London, don't ask for the "restroom" ask for the toilet. You'll get very funny stares when saying restroom.
After navigating a steep staircase that Jamie's staff must climb at least 50x a shift, I found the Loo. I was ultra impressed with the modern Dyson hand dryer. I'm a simple woman, very easy to impress.
This lunch helped round out our trip and just put it one notch above fabulous. Hopefully Jamie will bring his enthusiasm, inspiration, and culinary genius to the states. Possibly Colorado?

If you'd like to see a sneak peek of what Jamie has been working on in West Virginia, click here to take a look at Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, a show coming to ABC on March 26. It will be an eye opening show. Way to go Jamie for tackling the unhealthiest city in America.

**I do apologize for my photos, they were all taken with my iPhone, I was more enamored by the food in front of me to really concentrate on perfect shots!


  1. Great post! I am really impressed with him even more than before. Love, love him. I wish I could work for him! I loved our waiter/host, wasn't he charming? A truly GREAT experience and I cannot wait to catch his show. What an inspiration he is. - Melissa

  2. That Secondi dish with the root vegetables looks amazing!


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