14/05/2008 - 22:00

Jango brings a world of taste home

14/05/2008 - 22:00


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AFTER 13 years in the UK and Dubai cooking for A-list celebrities and royal identities, chef James Webster has returned to Perth to launch his new chain of grab-and-go food concept stores.

Jango brings a world of taste home

AFTER 13 years in the UK and Dubai cooking for A-list celebrities and royal identities, chef James Webster has returned to Perth to launch his new chain of grab-and-go food concept stores.

From cooking Sunday lunches for the Beckhams and Prince Charles to working with renowned cooking legend Sir Anton Mosimann, the Perth-born and trained chef has opened the first of what he hopes will be a number of stores providing fresh, high-quality take-away food.

Located on King Street at the former City Greens site, Jango Gourmet Express offers a variety of sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, desserts and drinks - all prepared fresh daily by Mr Webster and his team using mostly local and organic produce.

The ever-changing menu will feature a wide selection of gourmet salads, from the traditional Caesar salad range to a roasted pear, blue cheese and cashew salad, a variety of daily hot pots, as well as freshly-made smoothies and drinks, including an intriguingly flavoured minted lemonade.

For those craving something sweet, a selection of cupcakes, muffins, mini cheesecakes and a delectable Valrhona chocolate mousse are on offer.

Jango also stocks Fiori coffee.

Jango, which was Mr Webster's childhood nickname, has been loosely modelled on the PrĂȘt chain of gourmet take-away food stores in the UK.

Taking it a little further, Mr Webster says he wanted to create his own brand, using his Michelin star restaurant training to create original meals and recipes using the best local produce.

"The idea is that you don't have to wait for anything.

All you wait for is the coffee, naturally," he told Gusto.

After securing the site, conveniently located at the St Georges Terrace end of King Street, in September, the team completed a whirlwind four-week fitout taking out every part of the 35 square metre space.

The store was designed by Perthbased designer Carol Anne Cassidy, who was also behind the awardwinning design Subiaco diamond jewellery store, Carbon.

Mr Webster engaged design company Reb to design the branded packaging, which is all made from bamboo and is biodegradable.

Just outside the store, wooden benches allow patrons to stand and eat and drink without blocking the sidewalk thoroughfare.

"I'm glad we got King Street; I wanted the first one to be in the right spot," Mr Webster said.

"I don't want to end up in shopping centres, it will just be choice spots." Mr Webster says he has his scouts out looking for other potential sites, and is currently eyeing a vacant store on St Quentins Avenue in Claremont for a second store.

He also hopes to open a second location in the city centre, and gain a foothold at the international airport.

In addition to running Jango, Mr Webster is also looking to venture back into exclusive catering work, and is fielding enquiries for boardroom catering, dinner parties and lunches from eager locals.

Mr Webster's resume includes postings at illustrious venues including London's Criterion alongside Michelin-star chef Marco Pierre White, at the Hilton on Park Lane where he ran 11 kitchens with more than 90 chefs, and as executive chef at Downing Street for Gordon Brown and the English Treasury.

Most recently, he was executive chef at Dubai's 6-star Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, which involved devising a different sixcourse menu for the highly exclusive resort's guests every night of the week.

But he is glad to be back in Perth, opting for a quieter, more settled life in Perth with his Australian wife and new baby.

"I didn't want to pick up a restaurant and just devote my life away to a restaurant and cook every day and on the weekends," Mr Webster says.


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