Istanbul’s media and blogging scene came together to celebrate the first birthday of hip restaurant Jamie’s Italian at the Zorlu Centre on Friday, Nov 21.
Jamie Oliver you must be exhausted. You have had quite a busy few years.
Let us have a few martinis, mojitos and Italian aperol spritz’ to celebrate your success.
Before I commuted to the Zorlu Centre to enjoy the first birthday of Jamie’s Italian with other media representatives, I was able to browse through the website and found a quote from the master himself, Jamie Oliver.
“I’m so proud of Jamie’s Italian. Our amazing team is like a big family – they’ll look after you while you tuck into simple delicious food, created using superbly sourced produce. Great food, great value and beautiful surroundings; Welcome to Jamie’s Italian.” Jamie Oliver
I was wondering if I would see some of this family attitude reflected in the celebrations that evening.
I spoke with Operations Manager Volkan Açıl, as we were sidled just to the left of the DJ at a table lined with wine and cocktails.
He mimicked the ideology of the above quote, telling me, “If staff are satisfied, then you will be satisfied.”
“We take care of the staff like they are family, and this doesn’t happen in Istanbul. If we didn’t do these things, we wouldn’t be any different from the other restaurants in this city.” Volkan Açıl
It seems the best man has been chosen for the position of leading, representing and maintaining the Jamie’s Italian image.
Having lived abroad for several years, Volkan communicates with a fluent English and speaks highly of his restaurant and employee family.
It has the philosophy of a circle of happiness that simply begins with the staff and is passed on to the customer.
Volkan also says the Turkish market love Jamie’s Italian and they “are acquiring a taste for Italian more and more”.
The success of Jamie’s is obvious with a rumour that it will be spreading to Istanbul’s Asian side by next year.
It seems it is growing at such a rapid rate that the world wide web can’t keep up with its progress.
The website gives a visual timeline of events that trails off sometime in 2012 before the branding is set to launch in Singapore.
However, a separate menu screen has a full list of countries in a rustic blue typeface – Australia, Canada, Brazil, UK, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Bali, Russia, Ireland, Sweden, Singapore and of course Turkey.
At its Istanbul home, invitees at the first birthday event poked their heads through an oversized picture frame for a flash of cameras while a birthday cake was presented in front of the Jamie’s Italian facade to the Pharrel Williams song ‘Happy’.
Balloons bounced in time with both the wind outside and with the partygoers on the dance floor as a DJ played funky western tunes from the 80’s to today.
Jamie’s inspiration for starting an Italian branding was his love for the culture to which he once said, “I should have been Italian”.
Perhaps after Friday night, seeing pictures and tweets, he may be thinking, ‘I should have been Turkish’.
Now there’s an idea.
Written by Sheldon Heyes
Zorlu Center Zincirlikuyu Cad. Beşiktaş
212 353 68 08
You may also enjoy reading ‘Antonio Carluccio‘ – entering the mind of another Italian culinary genius.