Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is planning to launch 30 Italian family-style restaurants in Asia.
The first one is set to open its doors in Hong Kong early next year.
The move marks the first step in taking his chain Jamie’s Italian – which now has five eateries in England – outside his hometown, to a region which takes pride in its rich diversity of international cuisine and where the economy is picking up faster than anywhere else in the world.
“Why Asia? Of all the markets, it has by far the fastest-growing economy,” said Edward Pinshow, president of Tranic Franchising, which formed a venture with Jamie’s Italian International for the Asia expansion.
“The Chinese have become extremely fond of Italian food. In Japan, Jamie’s become a household name,” he said on Tuesday.
Pinshow told AFP that the first stage of the expansion was to open six restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore, for which he is now raising about $US200 million ($A238.8 million).
They plan to roll out another 24 eateries in other parts of the region over the next five years, with China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea among the most likely candidates for location.