Jamie Oliver Is Making A Fierce Comeback After His Empire Crash

When the pandemic hit, restaurants all over the world were deeply affected. Many were even forced out of business. For Jamie Oliver, it was another hit to his empire that had already seen the closure of 22 U.K. restaurants in 2019 and the loss of 1,000 jobs. "It's brutal, unforgiving, and it's survival of the fittest," he told The Daily Telegraph. Oliver also criticized the government for not doing more to help restaurants. However, after increasing dividends from £ 5.6 million in 2021 to £6.8 million in 2022, Oliver is making a comeback.

According to The Guardian, the Jamie Oliver Group not only saw an 8% increase in revenue and a 17.5% increase in pre-tax gains but also the opening of 13 new oversea franchises that include Jamie's Italian, which was the brand of the 22 U.K. restaurants shuttered in 2019. The Jamie Oliver Cooking School in London also saw a 35% increase in sales.

Most telling is the fact that Oliver is opening a restaurant in London that he will run himself, his first in the U.K. since 2019. "I'm extraordinarily excited to be opening Jamie Oliver Catherine Street in the heart of Covent Garden and stepping back into the U.K. restaurant industry that I love so dearly," he told Time Out. The restaurant is expected to open in November.

Oliver's career has seen many ups and downs

Jamie Oliver's transformation from a 24-year-old carefree "Naked Chef" to a 47-year-old with a global culinary empire has had many ups and downs. As a child, he worked in his parents' pub and was later recognized for his cooking skills when he attended Westminster Catering College. After appearing in a 1999 documentary about London's River Café, where he was a sous chef, the charismatic Oliver was offered his own show. He's written over 20 best-selling cookbooks and has sold more nonfiction books in the U.K. than anyone.  

His James Oliver Group restaurants include Chequer Lane, Jamie's Italian, James Oliver Kitchen, James Oliver's Pizzeria, Jamie Oliver's Diner, Jamie's Deli, and The James Oliver Cooking School. He's known for his passion for fighting childhood obesity. He began campaigning for better school meals in 2005 and has never stopped speaking out about the need for healthier, more affordable convenience foods.

He's also trying to learn from his mistakes and improve. "Losing my U.K. restaurants was, without doubt, one of the hardest times of my life. But being a positive part of the restaurant industry is very close to my heart," Oliver said in a press statement. With the James Oliver Group's production and franchise earnings having doubled in 2022 and a new, more personal restaurant opening soon, the restoration of Oliver's cooking empire is underway.