JAMIE Oliver is set to take over a Southend Pier cafe for a second series of his hit Channel Four show, the Echo can reveal.
The celebrity chef has exchanged contracts with Southend Council over using the former Pier Head Cafe for a second series of Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club.
The Naked Chef, who claims to have been conceived under the pier and featured the structure heavily in the show, is reportedly keen to return cafe after the four-part series pulled in 1.43million viewers last month.
Derek Jarvis, cabinet member for culture and tourism on Southend Council, said: “Contracts have been agreed and are being exchanged.
“Before Jamie arrived and painted it and did his carpentry and gave it a big headline the cafe was really on its last legs.
“He has made it into a wonderful film set.”
Mr Jarvis said the council had written provisions for the cafe to be used by the public when Jamie is not filming there into the contract.
But he warned certain food sellers, such as the fish and chip shop councillor Paul Van Looy was keen to open there, would struggle fit around the filming as their cooking equipment would be difficult to move. Instead the council may have to operate the cafe.
Mr Jarvis, who is keen to ensure the public can access the cafe, said: “If the production company calls us the night before and says it wants to use the cafe at 11am we could accommodate that, but most businesses couldn’t just drop what they are doing.”
The show, which focused heavily on Jamie and his farmer friend Jimmy Doherty’s Essex roots, helped to raise the profile of Southend and the pier after several mishaps, including fires and boats crashing into it, bringing celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Barlow, Jonathan Ross and Alan Carr to the town.
No-one from Channel Four or the production company were available for comment.