Chef Jamie in love with Irish venture
CELEBRITY chef Jamie Oliver will return here in the new year to spend time with his new Dublin "family".
The cheeky cook linked up with restaurateur Gerry Fitzpatrick to create his first base in the country at Dundrum Shopping Centre and since then the pair have become firm friends.
The decision to open Jamie's Italian at a time of severe recession came as a surprise to many -- but the restaurant has been packed with customers.
And there may be a second outlet opening at another location next year.
The management now count an average of 3,000 bookings a week and it has picked up even more over Christmas.
Gerry Fitzpatrick, who is behind Chattam Brasserie, in Dublin city centre, admitted he initially had reservations about opening up in Dundrum, which already has several restaurants.
"But it is great. They make sure the area is kept clean and there is always security outside. It is complete peace of mind."
Gerry said he spent four years trying to tempt Jamie over to Ireland. "I believe there were several people interested -- and much bigger investors than me," he said. "But once Jamie met me and saw how passionate I was about food, we knew it was a right fit."
Gerry said that the chef feels at home when he comes to visit.
"He told me, 'It's great, not only do I have a business in Ireland but I have a family in Dublin too'."
"He's coming back some time next year. I plan to take him fishing out in the west."