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Rivalry heats up as celebrity chefs get taste for HK

Two of Britain's best-known celebrity chefs will compete for the attention of Hong Kong diners after Gordon Ramsay announced that he will open a restaurant in the city - hot on the heels of his television rival Jamie Oliver.

Rumours that 47-year-old Hell's Kitchen star Ramsay was bringing his London establishment Bread Street Kitchen to the city were confirmed yesterday after weeks of speculation, with a September opening slated for the Lan Kwai Fong branch.

Located in the Hotel LKF by Rhombus on Wyndham Street, the restaurant will serve "British European" food, with dishes from its London counterpart.

"This is an exciting step for the group, not only to be entering the Asian market, which has such an amazing food culture, but also to bring one of our concepts which has proved such a success in London," Ramsay said.

Ramsay's television rival Oliver revealed in March his plan to open a branch of his Jamie's Italian chain in Causeway Bay next month.

With 200 seats, the restaurant on Tang Lung Street in Causeway Bay, sandwiched between Hennessy Road and Times Square, will have twice the capacity of the venture by Ramsay (pictured).

A meeting of the two chefs in Hong Kong appears unlikely for now, however, as Oliver is not expected to attend the opening of Jamie's Italian.

Marcos Georgiou, the international chef director for the Jamie's Italian chain and his other brands, said in April that Oliver did not like to be at openings as he felt his appearance would detract from the work of the team that opened the venue.

However, Georgiou added that Oliver would make an appearance at the restaurant eventually.

Ramsay is yet to confirm whether he will attend the opening of his Bread Street Kitchen. His group owns a total of 24 restaurants around the world, including the Savoy Grill in London and the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Las Vegas.

Oliver has 27 restaurants in Britain and nine internationally: three in Australia, two in Dubai and one each in Dublin, Istanbul, Singapore and St Petersburg.

This will be Ramsay's first restaurant in Asia, but Oliver is no stranger to business in the region, or in Hong Kong. 

Oliver's first attempt to open a restaurant in the city in 2009 fell through but he successfully launched a branch of Jamie's Italian in Singapore last July.

Jamie's Italian Hong Kong will be set up with local partner Big Cat Group on the second floor of a new building on Tang Lung Street, home to a cluster of food and beverage outlets.

Staff Reporter / SCMP