'Fantastico' news for Harrogate as celebrity chef wars break out
Celebrity chef wars are about to erupt on one of Harrogate's main streets for eating out.
Celebrity chef wars are about to erupt on one of Harrogate’s main streets for eating out.On one side of the road, a British icon of cooking.On the other side, an Italian icon of cooking.Jamie Oliver versus Gino D’Acampo.In a further sign that Harrogate is now regarded as a ‘must’ location for high-profile national chains, both hugely popular chefs will shortly be facing each other on Parliament Street or, at least, one of their chain of restaurants will be.Battlelines were drawn first when it was announced last week that The Harrogate Restaurant Bar and Grill on Parliament Street is to close for redevelopment in a new venture by popular TV chef Gino d’Acampo. When it opens in the summer, the new ‘fantastico’ Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant will be only yards away from Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant which opened on Parliament Street in 2014. The star of ITV series Gino’s Italian Escape and bestselling author of recipe books, Gino’s new sites in Harrogate and Liverpool will be the third and fourth towns in Britain selected by the so far after London and Manchester. Once the existing premises on Parliament Street are given a complete makeover and transformed into two stylish floors of dining out, Gino’s new restaurant will reopen in partnership with Individual Restaurants which own the Restaurant Bar and Grill brand. In what may be seen as a pre-emptive strike, Jamie’s Italian in Harrogate appeared in front of millions of TV viewers last Saturday night on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.The show, worth a fortune in free publicity, saw Jamie visiting his Harrogate restaurant before being unexpectedly ‘pranked’ by two presenters of Harrogate radio station Stray FM.But Jamie may not have the last laugh in this battle of the true master chefs.The charismatic Gino, who was born in Naples but moved to London aged 19 to follow his dreams of being a to chef, is willing and able to play the glamour card with his showbiz friends.The chef and bestselling author’s other launches to date have seen celebrities aplenty in attendance.When he opened new 150-cover Leeds restaurant before Christmas, the glitzy private party saw celebrity friends Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby and Peter Andre enjoying the party in the champagne bar. The OK magazine favourite’s earliest entry into the world of restaurant entrepreneurship was Gino D’Acampo My Pasta Bar in London.More recently, he has teamed up with restaurateur Steven Walker, founder of Individual Restaurants which is behind the Piccolino, Restaurant Bar & Grill and Bank Restaurant & Bar.Gino recently told Leeds Confidential’s website that Harrogate was a “cool” place and he had fallen in love with town when he first visited it seven years ago. Crowned King of the Jungle after appearing in the ninth series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here! in 2009, Gino is not one to hang around once he’s got a good idea. Adverts asking for applications to be his bar manager in his new Harrogate restaurant went out last week.