Is Jamie Oliver Really Set to Exit the Culinary World?
After closing down 12 of the 37 branches of Jamie’s Italian restaurants, Jamie Oliver has also reportedly closed his flagship Barbecoa steak restaurant (leading to job losses for 60 of its staff). Accompanying these closures are statements from Jamie Oliver himself about his desire to focus on raising his 5 children.
Understandably, these recent news stories have raised concerns on whether or not the renowned celebrity chef of more than 30 cooking shows is about to retire. Is Jamie Oliver really set to exit the culinary world?
Jamie Oliver is Restructuring, Not Retiring
In a statement by the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, CEO Jon Knight explained that following the closures, they’re planning to redeploy the displaced staff within their wider restaurant group. Apart from that, anyone in the staff who’s been negatively impacted by the closures will be paid in full, including all contractual obligations. Knight adds that the move is necessary to ensure that the “much-loved brand can continue to serve its loyal customers.”
Additionally, after laying off 60 staff members following the Barbecoa closure, around the same number of staff is required for a new restaurant after the group bought another site near St. Paul’s. Jamie himself was able to negotiate a rent reduction at the newly acquired site.
Jamie: Don’t Blame CEO Paul Hunt
Jamie Oliver has also hit back at accusations that his CEO and brother-in-law Paul Hunt is responsible for “wrecking the business empire from the inside.” Just recently, company insiders have claimed that they’re desperate to leave because of Hunt’s bullying, incompetence, and tough cost-cutting measures. But Jamie isn’t having it. In a report by Brinkwire, Jamie stated that these claims are nonsense: “First, let me say that the story is nonsense and I absolutely refute the picture they paint of Paul and my business. I've known Paul for years both as a loyal brother-in-law and loving father as well as a strong and capable CEO who I charged with re-shaping the business.”
Jamie Is Considering Retirement – But Not Soon
At 42 years old, Jamie has admitted in the past that he has been thinking about retirement to spend more time with his family. Last year, Entertainment Daily reported that Jamie’s net worth is estimated at £200 million. However, considering his business empire’s most recent measures, Jamie is not about to retire soon, although the idea is on his mind.
As The Guardian reminds us, Jamie is no ordinary celebrity chef. He’s always been a champion of educating people about healthy eating. Although his companies have suffered recent financial losses, it’s more about disastrous over-expansion rather than Jamie’s desire to retire and focus on family – which is good, it would be a shame to lose such a talented chef at the relatively young age of 42.
If you’re curious about what Jamie’s many restaurant chains have to offer, you read more about Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall right here on Gourmet Guide