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By Xing Yi and Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2015-05-12 08:06

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Bookstores in China are packed with recent Chinese editions of chef Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. Oliver plans to expand his Italian restaurant brand in China. [Photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily]

As Britain's champion of eating good, healthy meals brings his restaurants to Asia, his cookbooks are taking center stage in many Chinese bookstores. Xing Yi and Mike Peters turn the pages with translator Cecilia Pym.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver announced plans to expand his Italian restaurant brand around the world back in 2013, with Hong Kong, Beijing and other Asian cities in his game plan. The Hong Kong edition of Jamie's Italian opened last year, and the buzz now is that Britain's longtime champion of the "delicious and nutritious" could open in China's capital soon.

A Beijing outlet might be particularly satisfying to Oliver, whose penchant for bringing global cuisines into everyone's home kitchen is reflected in more than a dozen popular cookbooks. In Jamie's Dinners, he wrote: "Peking duck is something that has always been very close to the Oliver family. Bizarrely enough, the fact that my parents ran a pub restaurant meant that we very rarely went out for dinner as a family, but when we did, my old man used to take us out to this Chinese restaurant in Sawbridgeworth where we all fell in love with Peking duck. There are hundreds of ways of cooking duck in Asian cultures - steamed, roasted, pumped up with bicycle pumps to remove the meat from the skin - but we're at home and so we can't do with all this mucking about. My way is simple and it works ..."

While Beijingers wait to see if 2015 is indeed the Year of Jamie, the chef has made a presence for himself in advance. In cities around the country, bookstores are packed with recent Chinese editions of his cookbooks. China Daily chats with Cecilia Pym, who took on the job of translating some of what have become Western culinary classics.

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