Jamie Oliver’s business is in big trouble.
But judging by his multimillion-dollar assets and massive personal wealth, the British celebrity chef will be just fine.
The 43-year-old has a net worth of $440 million (240 million pounds), and prior to news that his chain of 25 eateries across the UK had gone into administration, he and his wife Jools flaunted a lavish lifestyle on social media.
The Oliver family lives in a Grade-II listed $16.3 million Hampstead Heath mansion with a sprawling back garden, enormous play room for their five kids and a baby grand piano.
Oliver pumped some of his millions — $24 million, in fact — into his Italian chain, but it wasn’t enough. He said in a statement this week he was “deeply saddened” by the chain’s collapse. “I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”
About 1300 Jamie’s Italian employees are at risk of losing their jobs.
The celebrity chef’s finances are sure to take a hit, although documents show the couple’s personal assets are not put at risk by the bankruptcy of the business.
Photographs shared by Jools on Instagram show the pair living a luxurious lifestyle with their children — Poppy, 17, Daisy, 16, Petal, 10, Buddy Bear, eight, and River, two.
The Olivers also have an enormous back garden, with a scenic and spacious seating area for picnics, family meals and even studying.
In September 2017, the pair shared a photo of a freestanding bathtub in the middle of a spotless plush-tiled bathroom.
The five Oliver children have a very comfortable life. Many photos show them in what looks like a kid’s paradise — snuggled up in life-size cubby houses, learning to play music on a baby grand piano, and cuddling one another in big comfortable beds with velvet headboards.
Having risen to fame two decades ago with his BBC show The Naked Chef, it’s only fair to assume the multi-millionaire has a fancy kitchen.
Jools has shared glimpses of the family’s well-fitted kitchen, including an old snap of the kids celebrating the 2016 New Year at a large wooden table, showing it’s the perfect spot for parties:
Some of the staff from the doomed restaurant business have slammed the celebrity chef, saying he won’t be affected by the chain’s failure.
“I’m really angry because Jamie won’t be the one looking for a job and struggling to pay his bills, it’ll be poor saps like us who worked for him,” one employee told The Sun.
“He and his management team got greedy.
“They believed their own hype and thought they’d make billions without investing in the business.”
The staff member claimed they were sacked by conference call just 30 minutes before the announcement that Jamie’s Italian Limited had appointed KPMG as administrators.
WHY DID OLIVER’S BUSINESS GO UNDER?
As his business spiralled further into debt, last year Oliver himself admitted he “honestly (didn’t) know” why it was failing but speculated a “perfect storm” of “rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit, (and) increase in the minimum wage” was to blame.
While those things certainly played a part — Oliver’s is one of several restaurant large chains to collapse in the UK in recent years — changing consumer tastes are a major factor.
Seeking unique experiences — and something to brag about on social media — diners are increasingly shunning cut-and-paste eateries for high-end restaurants that offer a bespoke experience. Or at the other end of the spectrum, pop-up and food hall-style venues that offer good value, variety and are seen as more authentic.
Oliver rapidly grew but failed to evolve his offering since the launch of Jamie’s Italian in 2008, followed by the Recipease cooking school and deli chain in 2009 and barbecue chain Barbecoa in 2011, off the back of his The Naked Chef fame.
Tough economic conditions post-Brexit, namely shaky consumer confidence and a falling pound, may have also hindered the restaurant chain.
In 2017, after making the decision to shutter six Jamie’s Italian restaurants, Oliver in part blamed Brexit for his company’s financial difficulties.
Last year Oliver admitted his business’s plunge into debt had taken him by surprise.
“We had simply run out of cash,” he told the Financial Times of bailing out his restaurant group. “We hadn’t expected it. This is just not normal, in any business.
“You have quarterly meetings. You do board meetings. People supposed to manage that stuff should manage that stuff.”
Oliver had suffered serious losses long before Brexit though. In 2014, he was forced to close his chain of four traditional British restaurants, Union Jacks, citing a “challenging climate”.
The chef was also hit by a series of PR blunders, including a chef using frozen gnocchi from a packet at a Sydney restaurant, and a lucrative partnership with oil giant Shell, which many saw as a betrayal of his support for climate change action.
But at the end of the day, with 23 cookbooks, appearances in more than 20 cooking shows and a massive personal brand, it looks like the Olivers will be just fine.