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Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group files for bankruptcy protection

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Proving that TV stardom is no guarantee of success in the kitchen or dining room, celebrity chef-operator Jamie Oliver has sought bankruptcy protection for his United Kingdom restaurant empire.

The court-appointed administrator of the group, accounting and consulting firm KPMG, said in a statement that 22 of Oliver’s 25 restaurants have closed and 1,000 positions have been discontinued. 

Oliver, the chef who soared to fame on the strength of a straightforward cooking style that earned him the label of The Naked Chef, has been focused lately in recent years on improving school lunches in the United States and the U.K. He hosted a cooking program called “Naked Chef” that became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The level of Oliver’s personal involvement with the restaurants has been unclear, but he indicated during media interviews that he still had a hand in their operations. During at least one of those sessions, Oliver complained that his operations were being battered by soaring occupancy and food costs, which he attributed in part to Brexit. 

“I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years,” Oliver said in a tweet confirming the bankruptcy filing.

The restaurants in Oliver’s group include the Jamie’s Italian group and Jamie Oliver’s Diner.

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