The 42-year-old TV chef has had six branches of his famous Jamie’s Italian spots closed in recent months and has now revealed that the current political and economic climate have been major contributing factors in the shrinking of the brand.
Dismissing reports that the chain is in demise and in need of a £10 million refinance deal, he insisted: “I’ve had six closures. Marks and Spencer have had 200, but they put me on the front page with Cheryl Cole.
“It’s kind of b******s,” he told Radio Times, explaining that while Brexit and unsustainable rents have hurt the business, the true cause has been unethical consumption.
“I can’t compromise my procurement, it’s like a religion for me,” he said. “I would rather close all my restaurants than sell you intensively reared chicken.
“All those lovely restaurants that look the same as mine, some of the poshest new restaurants that are flying at the moment, they cook and burn-mark their steaks off-site, putting them in a little bit of plastic and regenerating them [in the restaurant] like airplane food,” Jamie ranted. “We’re the ones that are selling free-range chicken.
“Five or six other brands sell minimum- standard, intensively reared, never-seen-a-bit-of-daylight chicken.”
Jamie also revisited his long-running feud with Gordon Ramsay, which the notoriously foul-mouthed chef recently reignited by urging him to leave the UK.
“I don’t want personal spats in public with someone that, to be honest, I don’t even really know any more,” Jamie reiterated in response to Gordon’s goading comments that he should deliver on his promise to move should the British public vote to leave the EU.
Stating, yet again, that he doesn’t want to set an example to his and Gordon’s children to air their spat for everyone to see, he added: “I don’t think he liked me taking the high ground.
“So I’m going to take the high ground now and say I wish him all the best, and all success. Good luck to him.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now.