Jamie Oliver reveals why he bought a 16th-century mansion in Essex after the collapse of a restaurant chain
Jamie Oliver has revealed why he bought an Elizabethan country mansion at a time when his restaurant chain was going into administration.
In 2019, the celebrity chef came under scrutiny in some quarters after construction workers were spotted carrying out work on his Essex mansion house just days after his flagship restaurant chain, Jimmy’s Italian, collapsed and hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
In a new interview withtimesOliver explained that he realized the irony of the decision at the time. “If I was just a media expert, I wouldn’t have moved there when things were going wrong,” he explained.
“No one really knows why I bought this house.”
Oliver continued: “There was a whole bunch of stuff that was very specific and very intimate… I don’t care what anyone thinks. They don’t need to know. It’s an old falling pike; only a fool would buy it.”
The chef, who rose to fame in his early twenties thanks to launching his own cooking show on the BBC, naked chef, He went on to explain that owning such a property is a personal achievement.
“But coming from the place where I was born to this house that has only been owned by three families for 600 years, for me as a kid who went through special needs in school, is social mobility,” he said.
The Essex house has 70 acres of green meadows, a beautiful old wooden kitchen and a three-bedroom lodge in the woods.
In 2018, Oliver announced he had “no more money” to invest in his flagship restaurant chain after pumping millions of his own savings to rescue the struggling company. It was revealed at the time that Jamie’s Italian debts amounted to £71.5m, including £2.2m in wages owed to staff and £30.2m from overdrafts and loans.
Oliver opened his first Jamie’s Italian restaurant in 2008 and saw rapid expansion across the UK in early 2010. But that collapsed when the company’s debts began to pile up. In 2017, the company lost £700m and Jamie’s Italian closed 12 of its 37 sites as part of a company voluntary agreement.
All but three remaining restaurants closed in 2019 when hundreds of employees lost their jobs.
Oliver reflected in the interview that Jamie’s Italian model was “wrong from day one.” He said he was paying to outbid rivals for prime high street locations because “we were so excited at the time, we had a sense of vanity.”
Oliver and his wife Jules, along with their five children, reside at the country mansion, where the new Channel 4 series Oliver is being shown. 5 ingredient meals It was filmed.