Oliver's restaurant empire collapses
CELEBRITY chef Jamie Oliver has issued an emotional statement after his restaurant chain collapsed into administration, putting at least 1300 jobs at risk.
The celebrity chef's firm Jamie's Italian Limited - which includes 23 Jamie's Italian restaurants and 15 Barbecoa outlets - has appointed KPMG as administrators.
In a statement, Oliver said he and staff had "put our hearts and souls into the business" and described the administration as a "difficult time for everyone".
He said: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
"I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you.
"We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best in class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that."
Five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie's Italian have been sold off, while another was put into administration.
The father of five opened his first Jamie's Italian in 2008 and saw rapid expansion across the UK in the early 2010s.
But last year, it was revealed that the TV chef's firm owed staff millions and had huge debts.