Popular chef opens up about 'dark times' his family suffered

Jun 21, 2018
05:12 P.M.
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The celebrity chef has shared that he has fallen on hard times in his business, but that his family is helping to keep him sane. 


Jamie Oliver's restaurants may not be doing so well, but his wife and children are the absolute best thing in his life, and the best stress relief. 

Jamie's Italian is a chain of restaurants in the United Kingdom owned and run by Oliver. But in October 2017, the establishments fell on hard times. Since then, he has been forced to close 12 of the 37 restaurants. 

Oliver shared with Woman's Weekly that despite the losses, he's celebrating 10 years since the restaurants opened in 2008. 

"I'm very proud of having survived 10 years. Restaurant years are like dog years, so 10 years is a very long time. It's been a dark time, but I've got enough light in my life to balance the not-so-nice darkness," he said. 


That light that the chef refers to is in the form of his wife, Jools, and their five children, 16-year-old Daisy, 15-year-old Poppy, 9-year-old Petal, 8-year-old Buddy, and 22-month-old River. 

The family lives in a big house in Highgate, North London, with a big yard. 


"I go home and see my kids, and that always cheers me up," Oliver explained. "The idea is just to be there and play with them. With the teenagers, I just keep telling them I love them. With Buddy and Petal, I spend a lot of time bouncing on trampolines and trying not to get shot by Nerf guns." 

Oliver also admitted that being asked by River for apples is just "utterly sweet," and certainly does the job to brighten a difficult day. 


Jools is also an amazing source of support for Oliver, and always knows just what he needs. 

"If I had a magic wand I couldn't have invented a more supportive and kind wife. I've never been happier," he confessed of his marriage. 

Fortunately for Oliver, while his restaurants may not be doing so well, his other business ventures are flourishing. His 5 Ingredients book is the best-selling cookbook in the United Kingdom, and his television show is aired in 120 countries. 


Oliver has also renewed his fight against the fast food industry, campaigning to ban ads for the joints from television before 9pm.

He is also incredibly proud that Jamie's Italian uses only sustainable fish and higher welfare meats, and always pays the staff above minimum wage. 

Despite the hard times the restaurant is facing, Oliver is determined to turn it around, as saving the business will also save over 2000 jobs.