Jamie Oliver’s fresh $152 million blow
When TV chef Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant chain collapsed last May, many fans were stunned.
Jamie's Italian Limited - which included 23 Jamie's Italian restaurants and 15 Barbecoa outlets - entered administration in May 2019, putting 1300 jobs at risk.
KPMG were appointed as administrators, and Oliver himself addressed the collapse in an emotional public statement, describing it as a "difficult time for everyone".
Now it has been revealed just how difficult the situation has become after KPMG's progress report, published in the Guardian this week, announced most of the £80m ($A152 million) owed to creditors would not be recovered.
"The secured creditors will likely suffer a significant shortfall … Based on current estimates, we anticipate that a distribution will be made to the unsecured creditors. However, we are not yet able to confirm the quantum or timing," the report said.
Creditors owed money include local councils, landlords, hundreds of food suppliers, lender HSBC and even Oliver's own holding company.
However, the report also revealed almost 250 jobs were saved after three Jamie's Italian restaurants located in Gatwick Airport were sold to a catering firm.
The administrator was also able to claw back some funds by selling leases.
When the Jamie's Italian chain collapsed, the 44-year-old global celebrity's once-popular food company had allegedly managed to rack up a stunning debt of more than $A130 million.
Oliver was previously forced to sell his Australian restaurants to Hallmark Group, close several underperforming establishments and inject $24 million of his own money into the business in an attempt to keep it afloat.
As the crisis deepened last year, the father-of-five admitted he "honestly (didn't) know" why his company was failing but claimed a "perfect storm" of "rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit, (and) increase in the minimum wage" was to blame.
At the time, Oliver addressed the calamity, saying he was "devastated" and "deeply saddened" by the situation in a publicly released statement.
"I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected. We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that," he said at the time.
Just days after that shock announcement was made, bailiffs were spotted clearing the chain's flagship London store of furniture, cooking equipment and even cookbooks.
It reportedly took the workers four hours to remove tables, chairs and other items from the once-thriving eatery, which opened in 2014.
Last year, Aussie public relations expert Catriona Pollard told news.com.au Oliver's downfall was caused by a series of classic PR blunders, including overexposure, a disconnect between his actions and his personal brand and a failure to address several controversies head-on.