Jamie Cooks Italy

Photograph: All4
Rating 7.7
Streamer All4
Seasons 1
Episodes 8 x 30 mins

The Naked Chef has popped some clothes on and headed over to the land of pasta, tomatoes and olive oil on a mission to master Italian cooking.

And Jamie’s no fool – he knows if you want to learn about proper Italian cooking, you’ll need to veer away from the fancy restaurants serving teeny-tiny portions of delicately placed dishes. No, that’s not where the good stuff is – it’s with the nonnas. So Jamie and his trusty, gesticulating sidekick Gennaro Contaldo are on a tour of Italy’s elderly on the hunt for great, home-cooked dishes that we can try out in our own kitchens.

The series apparently took two years to film, and when you watch it you can see why – Jamie has come a long way from his Naked Chef days, bouncing around a dingy kitchen. Here he’s at home in Italy’s stunning landscapes, hopping from Sicily to Puglia, Naples to Tuscany with gorgeous cinematography following him along the way. What hasn’t changed though, is his charisma. Ok, some people find it annoying, but you can’t knock the guy in terms of enthusiasm – his love of food is infectious, and that’s why most families have a Jamie cookbook or two shelved away somewhere for when they’re out of ideas on what to feed the kids.

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And there will be plenty of inspiration in this show: for the kids there’s a delicious sounding pea and mint tortiglioni, the ultimate mac and cheese, and for the more refined palette, a sausage and red wine risotto might just be the thing. Pukka.

In The Times, Carol Midgley enjoyed this feast for the eyes, though couldn’t resist making a jab at Jamie and the “tart tang of irony” that his own Italian restaurants hadn’t survived. She admits, though that “Oliver is a decent sort with a good heart and maybe these no-nonsense women will finally convince him and any other celebrity chefs watching that the only thing that counts in a restaurant is the food.” But sass aside, according to The Telegraph’s Ben Lawrence, Jamie and Gennaro’s adventure “seemed like very heaven,” full of “some of the yummiest-looking dishes that I’ve ever seen. Not exceptional telly, you understand, but as lifestyle porn you couldn’t fault it.”

First shown August 2018. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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