For the love of pasta

For the love of pasta

Jamie and Gennaro’s pasta story

We’re super proud of the fresh pasta we serve at Jamie’s Italian, so what’s the story behind this beautiful ingredient?

The early days

Jamie’s love affair with pasta started at a young age. Having grown up around food in his dad’s pub, Jamie took off for catering college and, while his peers dreamt of working for Michelin-starred chefs or in the best French patisseries, Jamie had his mind set on one thing – making the best pasta in the world. And there was only one man who could teach him – Gennaro Contaldo. So, at just 19, Jamie landed his first job at the late, great Antonio Carluccio’s Neal Street restaurant, in pursuit of meeting his idol, Gennaro.

The Two Greedy Italians served as mentors to the young Essex chef who wanted to know everything there was to know about Italian food, and a firm friendship quickly formed between Jamie and Gennaro that’s still going strong to this day.

©2001 Penguin; Photography David Eustace

After Neal Street, Jamie went on to work with Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers at The River Café – the restaurant that launched Jamie’s career as The Naked Chef. Jamie was spotted making rotolo in the background of a BBC documentary in the restaurant.


©2001 Penguin; Photography David Eustace


Jamie’s Italy

Italy and its wonderful flavours continued to have a major influence on Jamie’s food and cooking throughout The Naked Chef years and, in 2005, he released his sixth book, Jamie’s Italy, a culinary tour of his favourite country. He wanted to pay homage to the classic dishes of each region and bring some new ideas back to the UK for the British public to enjoy. Jamie explains in Jamie’s Italy that learning to make pasta changed his cooking forever.

©2005 Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited; photography David Loftus

Fresh pasta for everyone

A few years later and Jamie’s Italian is born. The brainchild of Jamie and Gennaro, the idea was to take the same principles as the book and bring authentic Italian food to the British high street. And what’s more Italian than gorgeous fresh pasta?

Since opening the doors to the first restaurant in Oxford in 2008, the chefs have used Gennaro’s own recipe to make fresh pasta from scratch, every single day without fail. We never compromise on quality and we pride ourselves on finding the best ingredients for all our dishes, not just the pasta. We meticulously source ingredients from producers in Italy and the UK who share our ethos and take pride in what they do, which we think comes through in the incredible flavours of our food.

‘Since I was a teenager I’ve been totally besotted by the love, passion and verve for food, family and life itself that just about all Italian people have, no matter where they’re from or how rich or poor they might be. And that is what i’m passionate about – good food for everyone, no matter what.’ Jamie Oliver from Jamie’s Italy.

©2014 Jamie Oliver Enterprises Ltd. Photographer: Joe Sarah

What’s next?  

 Throughout the years, the 20 plus cookbooks and over 100 restaurants, Jamie has always held a true passion for pasta. Whether it’s a simple spaghetti or a show-stopping Lobster mac & cheese – there’s always a place for a beautiful bowl of freshly made pasta.

We think Jamie well and truly achieved his goal of making the best pasta in the world. What do you think?

©2014 Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited; photography Joe Sarah