Jamie in the Park, 14 March 2010

Jamie Oliver recently graced our shores and performed a couple of his energetic brand of live shows in Melbourne. The bonus part was that following these he came to Sydney and performed an open-air show in Centennial Park for free! I came to know about this event through the powers of mX on the way home one day but the advertisement was vague. The Centennial Parklands website was not much better and only described the event as featuring ‘live entertainment’, so for all anyone knew it could’ve just been a pre-recorded show played on a large screen in the park. Nonetheless, I made sure I remembered to try for tickets come 9am on Friday 5 March when they officially became available because who doesn’t like a free event?

I was all prepared and made sure I was logged in, fingers poised at the ready, prior to the time tickets would be ‘on sale’. When the little notice went from ‘tickets available soon’ to ‘tickets available now’ I clicked away furiously in the hope of securing some tickets. Fifteen minutes went by without reward but my spirits were high. At 9:30am I still held hope and at 9:50am I officially gave up. I was disappointed, until the husband let me know that he’d managed to nab 4 tickets, the maximum allowed, within five minutes of them becoming available.

Show evening swung around, the skies were clear and the evening featured the company of my two lovely ladies, Wifey and Mistress. The instructions for the event were to bring-your-own picnic dinner and I absolutely love picnics. Contributions from me included savoury tartlets made simply by pressing squares of store-bought shortcrust pastry into a muffin tray and filling them with mushroom, sundried tomato, pesto and haloumi, as well as ones with peas and haloumi and baking at 190°C for around 10 minutes.

And another rendition of finger sandwiches from me as well!

Wifey bought a small cheesecake that had a wonderfully fluffy texture that was topped with a berry jelly layer and encrusted with flaked almonds around the outside.

Seating for the event was unallocated across an expanse of grass although there were several rows of fold-up chairs at the front of the stage presumably for guests that were circulating in the VIP tents on our arrival. A band provided live musical entertainment pre-show and stayed on as Jamie’s back-up music throughout. And why would he need music, I hear you ask? Well, the first dish he demonstrated was pan-fried scallops with asparagus and prosciutto which he cooked on an adjacent stove burner whilst playing the drums to Oasis’ Wonderwall! At times he even used a drumstick to double as a wooden spoon.

The evening continued in Jamie Oliver’s inimitable excited manner and featured television clips from his time at River Café as well as other television series. Ben O’Donoghue was invited on stage to help out with a version of River Café’s infamous Chocolate Nemesis. Jamie talked about his plans to start a Ministry of Food in Australia and all proceeds from sales of the $15 show program were going towards this cause. Now to be involved with something like that would be a dream job for people like us!

I wasn’t able to attend any of the Taste of Sydney events in the lead up to Jamie in the Park due to wedding planning commitments as well as having to attend a friend’s wedding, but you can read about it and drool over photos at various blogs. However Jamie Oliver’s free event at Centennial Park was a most ample consolation prize for me, especially when we spotted the shadowy outlines of Manu Feildel, Pete Evans, Matt Moran and Alistair McLeod in the distance with the VIP crowd.

happy cooking & happy eating!


  1. How lucky was your husband to grab the tickets! The sandwiches look yummy too

  2. Wow what a great evening. Jamie Oliver is a very interesting guy, there is certainly more to him than the average TV chef.

  3. Hehe what a gorgeous spread for the park! :D And good on you for getting those precious tickets too! Thanks so much for the shoutout too :)

  4. What a fab community event. I didn't even know this was on but I love the spirit of the proceedings. Great picnic hamper too!

  5. i really bummed out trying to get tickets for jamie. i tried for over an hour to log in but never made it through. you're sooooooooooo lucky! congratulations! those finger sandwiches look awesome! thanks for sharing :-) totally jealous!

  6. Hi, I've updated you on the Australian Food Blogs webpage

  7. I am so happy that hubby got you tickets, as you know I shared your pain of developing RSI with the continuous clicking :P

    The picnic spread looks wonderful, glad you had a fantastic evening.

  8. oh I'm so happy u got to you!! Great!! p.s the tarts look cute.

  9. Love the savoury tartlets idea. It looks great and seems pretty easy to make

  10. Hooray for handy husbands! Looks like a lot of fun.

    Peas and haloumi? You know, I would not have thought of that combo myself, but it looks so nice and am sure it would totally work! Love the cute sandwiches :)

  11. Isn't Jamie wonderful in person? I saw him speak in Toronto in November and he was so entertaining, and he wasn't even cooking, just chatting. What a guy! Can't wait to see Ministry of Food in the US, airing soon on iTunes on my computer, sometime in the future in Canada. Hope it comes to Oz too!

  12. Aww, I would have loved to be there! Jamie is really something else. I love that he's trying to change the world with food! :) Did all the sandwiches get gobbled up?

  13. Hey missklcious, we were seriously lucky coz I don't personally know anyone else who went!

    Hey Mark, Jamie Oliver is definitely more than a chef who courts celebrity. His passion for food as part of healthy living is inspirational.

    Hey Lorraine, you're most welcome =) There's just something so relaxing about dining alfresco, and even more so when the company is Jamie Oliver!

    Hey Helen, it was great to see people getting into the spirit with spreads of wine and cheese. And Jamie Oliver is an absolute inspiration with his passion for healthy, balanced cooking and eating.

    Hey Simon, that site must've been so busy that morning! Jamie Oliver really was a delight to watch and we were very lucky with the tickets.

    Hey Anna, thank you. Much appreciated.

    Hey Sara, how strange that we both tried for an hour without luck but hubby nabbed tickets within 5 minutes!

    Hey Gastronomy Gal, lots of fun and lucky we got to go =) The tarts are really, really easy if you ever decide to make them...

    Hey Food lover, unbelievably easy! Keep them in mind for an easy party trick =D

    Hey Conor, peas and haloumi are a great sweet/salty combination and work equally as well in omelettes!

    Hey Mardi, his passion comes across in the most genuine way and his TED speech is really something to admire.

    Hey Renita, thanks for dropping by =) Jamie Oliver's wish is such a simple achievable one because we all have to have food - we just need to put some thought into it. And yes, all the sandwiches were eaten - no wasting of food for us!


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