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Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire collapses, leaving 1,000 jobless

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Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's British restaurant chain has filed for bankruptcy protection, partly due to increased competition and escalating rents in local commercial districts.

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain says it is entering administration, 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.

British chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire has collapsed.
British chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire has collapsed.
AAP

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 on Tuesday.

"I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected."

More than 1000 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.

Last year, the company shuttered 12 of its 37 sites in Britain, while five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie's Italian were sold off and another put into administration.

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.

Up to 1000 staff are expected to be out of work as a result of the collapse.
Up to 1000 staff are expected to be out of work as a result of the collapse.
AAP

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.

Other chains run by celebrity chefs have also struggled in recent years. Thomas Keller closed Bouchon in Beverly Hills at the end of 2017, saying it couldn't remain profitable.

Jamie Oliver's Australian restaurant group has already hit dire straits.
Jamie Oliver's Australian restaurant group has already hit dire straits.
AAP

That same year, Guy Fieri closed Guy's American Kitchen and Bar in Times Square and Daniel Boulud closed DBGB Kitchen and Bar in New York, saying it didn't get enough business during the week.

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