It’s no secret that it’s been a tough year for much-loved TV chef and entrepreneur Jamie Oliver, following news that he was battling to keep restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian from going bust. And now, the dad-of-five has revealed to Emma Bunton and Jamie Theakston how tough things have been and what it is that keeps him going. Speaking on Heart London Breakfast radio show, he said: “On the restaurant side, Britain’s going through an incredible time at the moment in the high street and I’m probably the only chef that owns his restaurants,” before adding: “Because it’s the only thing I had when I came to London and the fact that I’m going through a hard time, I just don’t want to lose. We’ve got like 1700 staff – I want to keep their jobs, I want to pay their mortgages and look after their families… And I think these things are to test you right?”
Jamie Oliver with wife Jools Oliver and their adorable children earlier this summer
Jamie started his high-street venture in 2008 and opened 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants in the UK and around the world. Sadly, 12 of the restaurants have since had to be shut after it was reported that Jamie injected £13 million of his own money into the business to save it from bankruptcy. The chef - who was worth £150m in 2017, according to the Sunday Times Rich List - told the Financial Times: “I honestly don’t know what happened. We’re still trying to work it out, but I think that the senior management we had in place were trying to manage what they would call the perfect storm: rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit, increase in the minimum wage. There was a lot going on.”
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Jamie’s candid comments on Wednesday came a week after he chased and pinned down a burglar who was trying to break into his home. He told HELLO!: "[I was lucky] to be there to stop something from getting much much worse. I didn't really have a choice, so it wasn't really about bravery - it was a very odd and unfortunate grabbing scenario." Jamie has since been named as the new face of Tesco, so hopefully more positive times are ahead for the Olivers!
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