Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's first foray into the North American restaurant business has been decided: Montreal, Canada.
Oliver will be lending his star-powered name -- and money -- to Maison Publique, a British gastropub that will be helmed by a former protégé and Montreal resident Derek Dammann, reports The Montreal Gazette. The restaurant is slated to open this fall.
Dammann and the British chef became fast friends after he landed at Oliver's London restaurant Fifteen a dozen years ago, where he gradually climbed the ranks to become chef de cuisine.
But Oliver's hand in the restaurant venture will end with his financial investment, Dammann told the Gazette. Otherwise, the menu, concept and food will be done entirely by him: old-school, British-style tavern dining, he said, featuring an open kitchen, 12-seat bar, and side terrace for next summer.
According to the publication, Dammann is best known for his skills with charcuterie, and signature dishes include lamb tartar, salami made with seal and duck testicle pasta. Ingredients will be locally sourced and the restaurant will also serve local ciders and in-house brewed beer.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Oliver plans to expand his most successful restaurant brand, Jamie's Italian, to Canada and the US.
Other restaurant chains include Fifteen, Barbecoa, and Union Jacks which opened at Gatwick Airport this summer in time for the Olympic Games.
In recent months, Montreal has become Canada's dining destination of choice among celebrity chefs. But not all collaborations have gone well. After getting Gordon Ramsay to lend his name to a popular chicken rotisserie that's been a local institution for 76 years, owners of Laurier 1936 cut ties with the star chef, claiming he was too busy. Since the relationship soured, the restaurant has been resold.
Daniel Boulud, a French-born, New York dining stalwart, recently opened his first Montreal outpost at the Ritz-Carlton with Maison Boulud, after unsuccessful runs in Vancouver.