We’ve got exciting news – a home-grown chef is set to take the helm of the first Jamie’s Italian restaurant in South Africa! You have probably heard by now that Jamie’s Italian, which was founded by celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver is set to open their first South African restaurant in Joburg super soon. WomenStuff announced in February that highly anticipated eatery was set to open its doors at the oh-so-chic Melrose Arch and now the group responsible for bringing this delicious eatery to SA has announced the group head chef to take on the massive project and it’s a local lad!

Chef Shane Smit, along with a talented team, is gearing up to bring a menu full of local flavour and rustic Italian-inspiration to South Africans craving something a little bit different. Hailing from Springs, Gauteng, Smit gave up the chance to become a lawyer to pursue his passion for food. He spent a year working at the first Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Oxford, which opened in 2008, learning about Italian cooking from Jamie and his team. It was just the beginning of Smit’s career and his eventual growth within the business. It was while working as Executive Chef for the illustrious Mount Edgecombe Country Club that he was offered the opportunity to bring Jamie’s Italian to South Africa.

Jamie's Italian Cape Town

“My heart nearly stopped,” said Smit. “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.” If his passion is anything to go by then we’re sure the food on the plate is going to be nothing short of delicious!

Jamie’s Italian is being brought to SA by local company, Whisky Creek Brands , but there is still no word from the company about when exactly the Jamie’s Italian in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg is set to open. They have however, promised to let us know more as soon as possible and we’re holding thumbs we get a taste before the end of 2016.

Stay tuned to WomenStuff for more updates on this exciting foodie story soon!