CELEBRITY chef, food campaigner and Essex boy Jamie Oliver has been filming in Mersea for a television show.
He visited the island with Channel 4 camera crews to shoot a programme celebrating local produce.
Jamie spent time exploring the area’s fishing industry, prepared some of the area’s famous oysters and cooked for a gathering of people on the shore.
Ben Woodcraft, of Ben’s Fish in East Mersea, was involved in bringing him to the area.
He said: “We’ve known Jamie for several years, since before he was famous. We supplied oysters to the Riverside Cafe, where he was a junior chef.
“We now supply his restaurant Fifteen, in London.
“We had a great day with him filming around the island. It was all good fun – a good promotion for Mersea, good for the area and good for everyone.
“He wasn’t just here to cook, he did do a lot of talking about the general fishing industry, local producers and local products.”
Jamie went winkle picking and dredged oysters with oyster fisherman William Baker.
During the afternoon, he was filmed preparing oysters onboard a houseboat owned by Veronique Eckstein, author of children’s book The Christmas Seal, and her husband, Gordon.
The crew also filmed Jamie meeting kitesurfer Jack Grogan and cooking sea bass on a camp stove on the beach in the evening.
Megan Ranson, 22, of Oakwood Avenue, West Mersea, was one of those who got the chance to speak with Jamie at the end of the day.
She said: “I found out by accident that Jamie was here.
“I phoned my mum and dad to ask if they wanted fish and chips, and they told me to get down to the beach.
“There weren’t that many people down there, so it must have been kept quite quiet.
“Jamie was a really nice guy, very friendly and welcoming.
“Me and my mum are big fans of his.”
It is believed the filming was for a series to be broadcast next year.
Mr Oliver’s publicist said it was nothing to do with his show 30-Minute Meals, but declined to give any further details.