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Business collapse was very painful

Jamie Oliver has said the collapse of his restaurant business was "very, very painful".

The celebrity chef's restaurant chain has suffered 22 closures and about 1,000 redundancies.

He said that despite the pain of watching two decades of crumble work, he had no records of an approach to the restaurant trade that "employed loads of people" but was difficult to sustain.

Oliver said he did everything he could to make his business a success, and the collapse in administration was not unique.

I just don't make it last sustainably

Oliver has described his chain's collapse experience as: “Very painful, very very painful. This is the part of my life that has been building up for 20 years. ”

The star, who rose to fame as the "Naked Chef" before building a large empire of restaurants, TV shows and cookbooks, is proud of what he achieved.

He said: “Obviously it's been tough but, you know, no regrets really. I did everything I could.

“I created something really magical, did amazing things, employed loads of people, bought only through food systems that were really positive.

“We made it, we whooped everyone's ass, and then, you know.

“I just used to make it last sustainably, and for a million reasons, that said a million times, as to what our challenge was, but I lost this time.

"What happened to me was not unique – it happened to small, medium and some large businesses all over the country."

Oliver added that caring about ethical food sources and fair treatment of staff was not a lucrative business model.

He said: "In business … not a level playing field."

In addition to this setback, he will continue to put pressure on the Government regarding children's health and nutrition.

The chef will seek out lobby minsters and new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and hire an expert team for the task.

He will ensure that business is as usual in his drive to improve public health.

Oliver said: "We are constantly talking to experts, to other NGOs, to the myriad of ministers, to the myriad of PMs that come through."

On Mr Johnson he said: “Of course I have met him on a number of occasions, seen him as a mayor, and seen him say one thing and one contradictory thing.

“Not that an expert in politics.

“Will we continue to speak weekly to his teams? Yes. Will I want to meet with him as soon as possible? Yes.

“But I guess very busy and lots of pressing things.

“Is child health a central pillar of Britain now and in the future? Yes. ”

Oliver has said he employs a team of four communications experts enlisted to lobby and research.

He returns to TV screens with the Channel 4 show Jamie's Meat-Free Meals in early September.

He will also release his latest book Veg, published by Penguin Random House, later this month.

– Press Association

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