Jamie Oliver: Model for Jamie's Italian was 'wrong from day one'

13 November 2023 by
Jamie Oliver: Model for Jamie's Italian was 'wrong from day one'

Jamie Oliver has said the model for his Jamie's Italian chain, which collapsed in 2019, was "wrong from day one".

The chef told The Times the business had paid over the odds and outbid rivals for prime high street sites because there was a "feeling of cockiness".

The paper reported that the restaurant group's fall into administration cost Oliver £25m and the chef never took a wage or dividend.

He said he had learned from the experience not to delegate management to others.

"Now I'm not having anyone else sign things off," said Oliver. "I'm done with that. I won't have anyone to blame if I get it wrong."

The chef was speaking ahead of the launch of his new restaurant Jamie Oliver Catherine St in Covent Garden at the end of this month.

The site will be Oliver's first London opening since the collapse of his UK restaurant group four years ago, which saw the closure of 22 restaurants including the Barbecoa and Fifteen London brands.

Oliver told The Times the average spend per head at Catherine Street expected to be £40-£50, putting it out of the range of the mid-market casual dining chains.

He also criticised high street brands for failing to cook dishes from scratch and said some chains were just "assembling food".

He added: "There's so much happening off-site and everyone thinks they're getting a posh meal. It's like, really? Come on. [At Jamie's Italian we] were marinating, cooking, making all our dressings on site."

Oliver said returning to the UK restaurant scene was like "getting back on the horse you've been kicked off" but said his passion for the industry was undimmed.

"To live in food as I do and not have a restaurant is like a musician not having a guitar," he said.

The chef's international business continues to expand and has around 70 sites across 23 different countries.

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