UK chef says restaurants would close without immigration

A noted UK celebrity chef has said that his restaurants would close immediately if it were not for immigrants coming to the UK from Europe.

Jamie Oliver, perhaps the most famous chef in the world, has made numerous television programmes and sold millions of books. His wealth has been estimated at over £150m. In the UK, he has over 30 restaurants. Most are part of his Jamie's Italian chain. His other chain of restaurants the 'Fifteen' chain has three restaurants that provides training for disadvantaged young people.

Oliver has given an interview to Good Housekeeping Magazine, a UK woman's publication, in which he said that EU immigrants seem to work harder than UK workers.

Without European migrants restaurants would close

He said 'If we didn't have any [European migrants] all of my restaurants would close tomorrow. There wouldn't be any Brits to replace them'.

He said that young Britons no doubt had a good range of skills but said 'long hours in hot restaurants is not one of them'. He complained that British youths seem to be unable to cope with the long hours and hard work. He said 'I have never seen anyone so wet behind the ears. I have mummies phoning up for 23-year-olds saying to me 'my son is too tired' [after a 48-hour week].'

He said 'I think our European friends are much stronger, much tougher'. He said that throughout his 20s, he worked 80 to 100 hours a week. People in restaurants now work much shorter hours. Despite EU law, restricting people to a maximum of 48 hours a week, 'they [Britons] still whinge about it'.

Oliver no stranger to controversy

Mr Oliver has caused considerable controversy before. In 2005, he made a television series about school food in which he highlighted the low cost and poor quality of food given to children in UK state schools. The series prompted a change of policy by the government. The next year, he secured an increase of £280m over three years in the schools food budget.

In his Good Housekeeping interview, he also said that the British poor often eat unhealthy and expensive food.

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