The USP being authentic hand-stretched Neapolitan pizza (Naples Style) made with freshest of ingredients, bold flavours and a handful of love
Pizza is not a mere dish, it is a tradition. A culture, rather a revolution with it being the most loved Italian dish in the world. Generalised and made famous in India with the Domino’s brand, there is no 1 ideal pizza today. Its experimented, innovated, some pizza makers are strict about their styles. The Neapolitan pizza which is a Naples style, which maverick chef’s today are nailing. Sicilian, Roman, New York, Chicago and other US-style pizza’s.
Jamie Oliver's Pizzarie for one, are for anyone who’s ever bitten into a slice with pure love. His traditional Neapolitan dough is slow-proved for maximum texture and flavour, hand-tossed and baked-to-order. With toppings characterised between the regular classics and the rebels, they are not afraid to break culinary rules with locally inspired flavours. For the brand, their pizza start’s with the basics - the utmost importance to the incredible dough, lovingly stretched, slow proved, making it feather light and soft. Then the toppings - made from well sourced ingredients and fired through a belting hot oven.
We got talking to Jasper Reid, Founder of IMM (International Market Management), MD of Sierra Nevada Restaurants - bringing the World’s third largest burger brand Wendy’s and MD of Dolomite Restaurants bringing Jamie’s Italian and Jamie Oliver's Pizzeria across the country. His tryst with India started over 25 years ago and across aviation, travel, tourism and food & beverage industries. Foraying into the world of F&B, his passion lies in the restaurant business which he fits into like hand-to-glove. We got talking to this most agile, effervescent and passionate restauranteur and here are excerpts from the interview :
Q : You seem to be more Indian than British, embracing the Indian culture, food and ethos. How did you get immersed into the culture so beautifully ?
My connection with India began much before I was born, a legacy which continued with my great grand father, grand father and my father being associated with working and travelling here from time to time. I am the 4th generation descendant with even stronger ties and it only keeps growing. Been stationed here 8 years now and I adore being here.
Q : How did you identify a need gap to introduce Jamie’s Pizza and Jamie’s Italian brands to India ?
Let’s start with the Pizzeria. Pizza is ubiquitous, in all its glorious forms and styles. Yet there are some dominating players and some that just scrape the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to creating the perfect Italian Pizza experience. Our aim was to make the most authentic pizzas with the freshest of produce and make it easily accessible and affordable to all who yarn for the love of this delicacy.
We are currently at 2 Jamie’s Italian and 18 Jamie Oliver's Pizzeria’s across 8 cities, ranging the length and breadth of the country. We get great response from cities like Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi of course where people love the concept and are more embracing of experimenting with twister toppings and varied sides like : fried gnocchi, chicken chilli wings, flash baked prawns, classic mac&cheese etc.
Q : How different would you define your pizza’s to be ?
Our pizza’s are about simple and authentic and prepared with the freshest of produce, created with bold textures and flavours. And the most important ingredient of ‘Love’. We in-still passion into the process of pizza making. For us it is the love of food, serving every palate, producing pure joy and happiness with every bite. Safe to say we got a pizza for almost every mood and occasion.
Q : You speak a lot about the produce, the ingredients. How important are they in the ethos of the system ?
Our guiding principles and values are very strict, we do not compromise on the freshest quality produce and our sourcing in any way. From vegetarian ingredients to the freshest of poultry. We even go to the extent of not placing something on the menu if we do not get the produce to make it. Health and wellbeing of our customers is non-negotiable and we stress on that aspect to inculcate a culture of consistency. We have 20 outlets today and I can say that we are known for the consistency of our food quality, service and delivery. It is also not facilitated by 1 person but it is imbibed in every employee working with us. We treat our customers exactly how we would like to be treated at a restaurant. This simple trait changes the way we operate our outlets.
Q: Let’s talk a little about the menu. It reads very succinct, limited but very focused. What was the thought behind curating it ?
Our mainstay is of course pizza so it had to start with the classics, so we have the Margherita, pepperoni, for mushroom lovers we got the fungi with wild mushrooms, pickled red onions, smoked mozzarella, veggie Parmesan and mint.
And the other part are the ‘rebels’ with twisted toppings : chicken tikka, shrimp in chilli freak sauce, kadhai paneer for those very relatable palates. Our sides or small bites are hugely popular and also give the perfect addition to a pizza pie without that feeling of over stuffing. There’s salads, fiery fries, fried gnocchi, tomato bruschetta etc. and speaking of classics, a menu has to rightly end on a memorable sweet tooth with tiramisu, NYC cheesecake and seasonal sorbets.
Q : What is your vision now for both the brands ?
Well there are about 60 metro’s across the country, the idea is to scale and reach out to every one slowly and steadily, hopefully. For the time being we have great expansion plans for states of Rajasthan - particularly Jodhpur, Jaipur, towards the East with Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara. We are considering opening a standalone outlet in a heritage haveli in Kolkata. The idea is to explore more such heritage and in hotel spaces expanding from our current portfolio of in-mall stores to stand alone, creating a distinctive brand identity and presence across the country.
we are considering opening a standalone outlet in a heritage haveli in Kolkata