Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly has disputed Jamie Oliver’s claim that Brexit contributed to the downfall of his restaurant business.
The celebrity chef’s restaurant empire – which included Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen – collapsed into administration in May. Twenty-two restaurants were closed and around 1,000 staff were made redundant.
Oliver recently indicated that Brexit had something to do with it, but Cleverly insisted it was more to do with the quality and presentation of food.
Addressing the collapse on BBC Radio 4’s Jamie Oliver: A Life Through Food, Oliver said: “The world changed, the high street changed – it started to become Uber-fied.
“Our competitors changed, and we looked less different to them as we did in the beginning.
“There’s that chain reaction, throw a bit of Brexit in, confidence goes and people’s habits changed.”
But Cleverly tweeted: “This isn’t about Brexit, I recently eat at a Jamie’s restaurant and the quality of the food just didn’t match the price.
“The staff were friendly but the presentation was poor and the food was bland.”
“In the competitive ‘family restaurant’ market you need to get the basics right,” he added.
Oliver said on Radio 4 that the collapse of his chain ruined his 40th birthday.
However, he said he had “learnt some very valuable lessons” from the experience that he hoped would enable him “to do, possibly, some extraordinary things in the next 20 years in a very, very different way”.