Celebrity chef Giorgio Locatelli questions Jamie Oliver’s move to Camden

Giorgio Locatelli. Picture: PA Archive/Zak Hussein.

Giorgio Locatelli. Picture: PA Archive/Zak Hussein. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Celebrity chefs Giorgio Locatelli and Jamie Oliver both opened their first independent London restaurants in 2002.

Jamie Oliver. Picture: PA Wire/Anthony Devlin.

Jamie Oliver. Picture: PA Wire/Anthony Devlin. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

In the subsequent years, Mr Oliver has grown a £240million empire of cook books, TV shows and a global restaurant chain, while Camden Town resident Mr Locatelli has focussed on his Michelin star Italian restaurant near Hyde Park.

“I cook, I don’t expand,” Mr Locatelli told the Ham&High.

The 51-year-old was unimpressed by Camden Council’s decision last month to grant The Naked Chef permission to open a pub and restaurant in the new King’s Cross development by 2016.

“I thought they wanted to develop in a different way. They wanted small, different operators that did very special things,” said the Italian of Argent, the developer in charge of shaping the new £500m complex.

It seems Mr Locatelli, who has published two books and enjoyed four instalments of his own TV series, has grown tired of the all-consuming nature of ‘brand Oliver’ and questions whether the man himself is content.

“Is he happy? I don’t know. You should ask him if he’s happy because I’m really happy,” he said. “I’m old generation, Jamie’s one generation after us.

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“I remember Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White - seeing what they were doing when I was 35 - and I saw Gordon go huge and a lot of people say to you, ‘Would you like to do that?’ I said, ‘No, I own the one restaurant with my wife and that’s it.’

“They seem to be very tormented. When is Jamie Oliver going to stop? They cannot take a day off when they want, I’m sure.

“There’s always this pressure, they’re always doing things. There needs to be three of them. How many Jamie Olivers are there? They’re super chefs those guys, I’m just a cook. I enjoy cooking.”

Argent bosses told the Ham&High that all businesses moving into King’s Cross were required to bring something “unique” and that the concept behind Mr Oliver’s new Camden venture was still unknown.

Rest assured, it won’t be another Jamie’s Italian.