Jamie Oliver show whips up a flurry of visits to chocolatier
PUBLISHED: 08:48 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:12 25 February 2020
Two brothers whose chocolate shop featured on Jamie Oliver’s TV show have been visited by people from all over the county – and further away.
Two brothers whose chocolate shop featured on Jamie Oliver's TV show have been visited by people from all over the county - and further away.
Greg Smith, who lives in Newport and his brother Chris Smith, resident of Bishop's Stortford, said 'loads of people' have been travelling to their Saffron Walden and Cambridge shops, Hill Street UK, since their appearance on Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast on Channel 4.
Local people have been "really excited" and "really interested" in watching the programme according to Greg - and people from Braintree, Southend, Brentwood and even Oxford came to their chocolate paradise and spent the day in Saffron Walden. "It's nice they introduced themselves and said this is the first time they have visited the store," Greg said.
The show saw chef Jamie Oliver and TV presenter Jimmy Doherty, childhood friends who grew up in Clavering, come back to their roots and make chocolate gifts for their mums.
"We made some of the 3D [chocolate] hearts with them and some chocolates to go inside the hearts. It was a bit of a battle between Jamie and Jimmy, who can create the best heart for their mum," said Greg.
Asked which one had the edge, Greg said Jamie's was perhaps a bit more elegant.
Afterwards, Jamie and Jimmy went to The Cricketers restaurant in Clavering, where they gave the handmade presents to their mums and challenged them to make chocolate desserts, in a 'Chocoff' competition between the sons and the mothers. The judges were local business owners from Saffron Walden.
"The sons made a chocolate tart, it had a pastry base," Greg said, adding: "The mums made a chocolate bomb - as you took the lid off, the chocolate oozed beautifully. This is something the mums used to make for the boys when they were little and they knew it would be good. They were both really good."
It was a close draw, as the talent of making good food seems to have been passed on from mothers to sons, and they both used chocolate from Hill Street - but the mums had to win.
Greg and Chris Smith have known Jamie Oliver since they started their chocolate business in the Saffron Walden market square four years ago, as Jamie comes to the market very regularly and approached the brothers last summer regarding some filming for Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast.
Greg said it was a "real honour" for him and his brother to be approached by the celebrities "to be part of that wonderful story".
The Saffron Walden Hill Street shop opened three years ago, followed by another little store launched in Cambridge just before Christmas last year, prompting the brothers to quit their previous jobs and come back to Saffron Walden, where they grew up.
Chris Smith trained in Paris and spent many years as a pastry chef and a chocolatier, gaining skills which Greg says are "more unique in England", because "we don't have those types of schools and education."
Another thing that is unique to them is their fresh chocolate and their 3D chocolate, designed by Greg, who trained as an industrial designer and lived in London for many years.
Greg said: "My skills complement my brother's skills in a perfect way. We have quite clear roles in the business."
Asked about why they gave up their capital city lives to start their business in a small town, he added:
"We were both starting young families. It was about both our lifestyles and our business. This is a lovely place to bring up children.
"London is very fast-paced, and it is hard with schools for children. There are so many lovely things to do here in Saffron Walden."
If you missed Jamie Oliver's show featuring chocolatier Hill Street UK on Channel 4, you can still watch it online (series seven, episode six) at https://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamie-and-jimmys-friday-night-feast/on-demand/69768-007.