Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has revealed that he plans to bring back his UK restaurants, following the collapse of the group in 2019.
In a new interview with Radio Times, the so-called naked chef said of his future plans: “I’m watching for now but I’ll definitely get back in the game.”
The television presenter and cookbook author also talked about reimagining his flagship concept Fifteen: “We’ve got some exciting ideas for Fifteen to reimagine itself, and we still have restaurants abroad. I’ve had a lot of trial and error but you can’t stop trying. Fifteen was trail-blazing. Everyone said ‘Don’t do it’, but it’s still the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Oliver’s restaurant group collapsed in 2019, with 22 of his 25 strong portfolio closing immediately. This included Fifteen, his most critically acclaimed restaurant, a duo of steakhouses known as Barbecoa, and his casual dining high-street chain Jamie’s Italian. The collapse of his restaurant group was foreshadowed by earlier financial trouble, which saw 12 of his then 37-strong UK restaurants close in 2018.
The celebrity chef first opened Fifteen in 2002, training 15 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to work in the kitchens. The restaurant’s opening was chronicled in a TV documentary for Channel 4.
Although Oliver’s restaurant group no longer operates in the UK, he does still have successful restaurant concepts abroad, including in far-flung locations such as Bali and Thailand. These restaurants operate under various brands, such as Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria, Jamie’s Deli and Jamie Oliver Kitchen.
On these shores, Oliver has spent his time appearing on various podcasts and giving interviews to magazines, as well as fronting a Channel 4 TV show called Keep Cooking and Carry On, which aired during the height of the pandemic and encouraged viewers to make use of kitchen cupboard staples.
In other news, this year’s Great British Bake Off contestants have been revealed.