Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is set to launch a new mid-market restaurant chain just six months after the near-total collapse of his UK restaurant empire.
In May of this year, Oliver was forced to close all but three of his Jamie’s Italian sites in the UK, as well as his higher end operations such as Fifteen and Barbecoa. The disintegration of Oliver’s restaurant empire was the subject of much media attention at the time, mainly because the closures led to the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
Now though, the chef will have another crack at the whip with plans to expand his restaurant portfolio in South East Asia. Two of the existing Jamie’s Italian sites in the area (on Kuta beach in Bali and in Bangkok, Thailand) will be rebranded to a new format called Jamie Oliver Kitchen, which will be an all-day offering serving dishes that reflect the specialities and local cuisine of the area. The so-called Naked Chef also plans to open a further 19 restaurants around the globe before the end of 2020, which will be a mixture of the existing Jamie Oliver brands.
The chef is rebranding some of his restaurants in south-east Asia
The new concept and locations will join the 70 restaurants that are currently operated by the Jamie Oliver Group, which boasts sites across 27 different countries.
In September, it was revealed that Oliver had paid himself £5.2 million last year, despite the fall in profits at his company, which encompasses his publishing house, as well as the remaining Jamie’s Italian sites and a couple of his other concepts such as Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Deli.
Commenting on his plans for expansion in south-east Asia, the chef said: “Over the past 20 years, I have travelled around the world to discover exciting flavour combinations, picking up incredible influences along the way.”
“The new restaurants will bring those inspirations to life and serve some of my absolute all-time favourites. Whether you want to grab a quick bite in a relaxed setting, have a proper sit-down meal with friends and family, or grab a drink at the bar, we have created a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy the food I truly love.”
Jamie Oliver isn’t the only chef going through a tough time. Find out why one of Heston Blumenthal’s former chefs is suing him.