Italy's Other Island

Italy’s Other Island 

 

Italy’s Other Island is an affectionate look at the Italian influence on Jersey Tourism from the start of the large influx in the fifties to the seventies when they were seen as the public face of the Island’s catering industry. This is seen largely through Italian eyes and the result will be a snapshot, not only of the times, but also of the legacy left to the Island by these young men who came to Jersey during the period roughly from 1955 – 1970.

 

 

Italo Miorin and Hamish Marett-Cosby at the Jersey AMIRA stand at the Italian Trade Centre in Piccadilly

The arrival of the Italians over here in an austerity ridden, insular, tourism industry had a huge impact. In the words of the chairman of one prominent family-owned Jersey hotel company, they brought a much needed professionalism to the industry as they brought with them best-practice from Europe rather than just relying on a traditional British sea-side offering. 

 

 

 

Eric Ruaro opening a large bottle of champagne ; “Eric Ruaro showing how it’s done”

Crucially, they also brought with them the discipline and skills of the brigade and the experience of those brigades in some of the best hotels in Europe.  They arrived in Jersey keen to celebrate their own catering heritage only to find an island in which olive oil, for example, was only available at chemists in tiny bottles and for medicinal use only.  There was a complete lack of any ingredients that are now seen as essential and normal, Parma ham, pasta, tomato concentrate, the list is endless.

 

 

The late Setti Pozzi and one very big and rather surprised Bass in front of the Apple Cottage, Rozel

But they persevered and Jersey benefitted hugely; indeed there are those who say that these young men laid the foundation for Jersey’s place as an Island where one can eat out well.  Fashions change and many returned to Italy but successful Italians remained and now in their retirement can look back on a flourishing transformation of Jersey’s tourism offer. Their legacy is important; they also gave us an object lesson in how to integrate into the community and their memories of those times are too important to be forgotten.

 

 

‘An invaluable book which will help preserve our heritage and our legacy to this Island.’  Renzo Martin, former Italian Consular Agent in the Channel Islands

 

 

“Italy’s Other Island”, priced at £10.00, will be published at Viva Italia (May 13th-14th).  After then copies can be purchased from selected Channel Island Co-operative Society Shops, The Jersey Museum shop, The Maritime Museum, and also Mont Orgueil, La Hougue Bie and Helizabeth Castle, as well as at BBC Radio Jersey, Parade Road St Helier, and at the Bon Viveur Restaurant in St Aubin.  Any enquiries to the author hmcjersey@outlook.com

 

Signed copies at a special pre-publication price of £8.00 and can be ordered now by applying to the publisher, Crosby Media & Publishing Ltd, La Cohue, La Grande Route de St Jean, St John JE3 4FN (editorial@ruraljersey.co.uk)  enclosing a cheque for £8.00 and an address for delivery, which will be within the two weeks after publication.

 

Hamish Marett-Crosby

 

 

 

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