Chef Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant chain goes into administration

LONDON (Reuters) - British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain said it was entering administration on Tuesday, threatening jobs at the firm’s 25 sites in the United Kingdom.

Oliver, 43, who became a well-known figure in Britain and beyond for his popular TV shows, founded his Jamie’s Italian brand of high street restaurants in 2008.

His restaurant group also includes Barbecoa, a steakhouse, and Jamie Oliver’s Diner.

“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,” he said in a statement. “I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”

More than 1,000 jobs will be put at risk by the administration, a form of protection from creditors. The Jamie Oliver Group said it had appointed Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG.

Oliver, who was discovered by the BBC while working as a chef in London’s River Cafe, gained widespread fame for his “Naked Chef” show, which was broadcast in dozens of countries.

He used his reputation to put pressure on politicians to combat growing child obesity problems by campaigning for healthier school meals.

Oliver’s restaurant chain is the latest victim of a brutal trading environment on Britain’s high streets.

In March, Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) said it planned to close more than a third of its Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner outlets, while Carluccio’s, Prezzo, Strada and Gourmet Burger Kitchen closed branches in 2018.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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