The news that British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group has fallen into insolvency is a big deal, especially across the Atlantic, where it’s reportedly knocked Brexit out of the top news spot. The BBC’s reporting uses the word “collapse” to describe the restaurant company’s decline into insolvency, which has already resulted in the closure of nearly all Jamie Oliver’s restaurants. It’s a sad day not just for Oliver, who tweeted as much, but for the roughly 1,000 workers who are out of jobs.
The company has gone into administration, meaning its remaining finances will be managed by auditors KPMG. Only three restaurants out of 25—the two Jamie’s Italian restaurants and a Gatwick airport location—will remain open for now. I actually ate at one of the Jamie’s Italian restaurants when I was in London a couple years ago. It was fine. International locations of Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Pizzeria, and Jamie’s Deli will continue operating as usual.
The company could not secure enough additional investment to remain solvent, despite the BBC’s report that Oliver himself infused more than $5 million into the restaurant group earlier this year.
Aside from his restaurants, Oliver is well-known internationally as the author of numerous cookbooks and as a vocal proponent of healthier foods, especially school lunches. He’s admitted in past interviews that his campaigns to revolutionize school lunches and childhood nutrition haven’t entirely succeeded, telling The Telegraph: “I admit I haven’t succeeded, mainly because I haven’t single-mindedly gone for it. … In Britain, eating well and feeding your kid right and being aware about food is all considered very posh and middle class.”
Perhaps now he’ll have the bandwidth to turn his full attention to campaigning for better kids’ food.