Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has vowed to continue with restaurants Down Under, despite his Jamie’s Italian eateries in Australia all closing permanently during COVID-19.
The Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney venues were all shuttered for good at the beginning of the pandemic by owners, Brisbane-based Hallmark Group.
The final curtain call on the ventures followed their tumultuous run with previous owners Keystone Group going into receivership in 2016, only to have the restaurants bought by Oliver’s own group. Then when that collapsed in 2018, the restaurants were again saved, this time by the Hallmark buyout.
But Oliver, who still has Jamie’s Pizzeria on the Gold Coast and a “dark kitchen” version in Melbourne with Hallmark Group, said he wouldn’t be deterred from opening more eateries in the future.
“Restaurants are in my blood,” he said. “The idea of building teams and creating your own culture and having really interesting, exciting, intimate relationships with farmers and suppliers and ultimately trying to do things differently, I can’t take that away, it’s just in me.
“So we’ll definitely continue to innovate and look at where there are gaps in the market; look where the weaknesses are in the industry.”
Hallmark Group said the Jamie’s Pizzeria concept had been well received, even during COVID restrictions, and they were “exploring a future roll out in key locations across Australia”.
“The current focus is on the continued success of Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria at Pacific Fair. There are no immediate plans for new locations however we look forward to exploring new opportunities as the restaurant industry recovers from COVID-19,” said a spokeswoman for Hallmark Group.
*See how Jamie Oliver tackled lockdown with his family in today’s Qweekend
Originally published as Jamie Oliver’s promise in wake of restaurant closures