A NUMBER of A-List celebrities have taken a trip to Southend Pier over the years as guests on Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s hit cooking show.

It was revealed yesterday that Dedman Gray, on behalf of Southend Council, is seeking expressions of interest for both the term of lease and proposed rent of the famous pier café currently operating as Tea With The Tide.

Echo: Gwyneth Paltrow was among the big names on the showGwyneth Paltrow was among the big names on the show (Image: File photo / Channel 4)

Famous faces including Danny De Vito, Usain Bolt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Barlow, Ellie Goulding, Fearne Cotton, Alan Carr, Alesha Dixon and Hugh Bonneville all have visited as part of the Channel 4 programme Jimmy and Jamie’s Friday Night Feast, which aired from 2014 until 2021.

The show, presented by celebrity chef Jamie and pal Jimmy, was praised for putting Southend on the map after running for eight seasons.

Echo: Jamie with Take That star Gary BarlowJamie with Take That star Gary Barlow (Image: Newsquest)

From 2013 until 2019, the venue had only been used for two weeks a year as a film set for the show. Each week a celebrity guest would join the hosts to cook a recipe of their choice, and members of the public would also get to sample the dishes.

The café, affected in a fire on the pier in 2005, was opened to the public in 2019 after the council reached an agreement to keep it running when Jamie and Jimmy were not using it as a film set.

Echo: Jamie and Jimmy with Hugh BonnevilleJamie and Jimmy with Hugh Bonneville (Image: Newsquest)

Dedman Gray revealed to the Echo that it has already received an "encouraging" level of interest since it started marketing the café close to the head of the pier, some even coming from operators on other piers across the country.

After the news yesterday, Matt Dent, Labour councillor responsible for the Kursaal ward, said it is a fantastic opportunity.

Echo: Usain Bolt appeared on the hit showUsain Bolt appeared on the hit show (Image: Newsquest)

He said: “The pier is iconic and one of biggest draws at the seafront.

“For anyone who takes this is a massive opportunity to not only make money but to cement themselves as the very fabric Southend.


“Everything on the pier goes in history too, so why wouldn’t you want to set up on the longest pleasure pier in the world.

“We are always keen to see more on the pier as a tourist attraction, having something new and exciting adds an extra reason for people to come to Southend and to out to the end of pier.”