Jamie Oliver’s Canadian restaurants are unaffected by the U.K. chain going into insolvency, the company has confirmed to CTVNews.ca.
The celebrity chef’s “Jamie’s Italian,” “Fifteen,” and “Barbecoa” restaurants in the U.K. have all gone into administration, a form of bankruptcy protection, putting 1,000 jobs at risk.
There are two Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Canada, one at the Square One mall in Mississauga, Ont. and the other at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.
The firm said Tuesday that it had appointed KPMG to oversee the insolvency process in the U.K.
“The board of Jamie’s Italian Limited has appointed Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG to put its U.K.-based restaurant business into administration,” a spokesperson for Jamie Oliver Group told CTVNews.ca.
“Jamie Oliver Holdings, which operates Jamie Oliver Limited and Jamie Oliver Licensing Limited, as well as the international restaurant franchise business, Jamie’s Italian International Limited, will continue to trade as normal.”
Multimillionaire Oliver, known around the world for his cookbooks and television shows, said he was “deeply saddened” by the insolvency.
The company operates 23 Jamie's Italian restaurants in the U.K.
“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,” Oliver said in a statement.
“I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”
Oliver said “Jamie's Italian” was launched in 2008 "with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining" with higher quality ingredients, animal welfare standards, better service and good value.
But the launch came just as local businesses throughout the U.K. were squeezed by the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. Rising food prices, increasing rents and competition took a toll.
The company had been in trouble for at least two years, despite Oliver's global fame.
Last year, Oliver shuttered 12 of 37 sites in Britain, while five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie's Italian were sold off and another put into administration.
He has personally pumped around CA$22 million into his Italian chain, but it was not enough.
--- With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press