Jamie Oliver: Brexit will affect restaurants, ‘we haven’t got enough chefs’

jamie GH

For the most part, I could take or leave Jamie Oliver. I realize many people like him, but I’m mostly meh on him. I want to say that he’s “preachy,” but that’s not really the right word. He’s sort of in the archetype of the hipster dad who gives his kids twee names and is obsessed with everything being “natural,” and I’m just not into it. Different strokes, etc. Anyway, Jamie covers the new issue of Good Housekeeping UK, and I did find his interview pretty interesting. He talks openly about how Brexit is going to do serious damage to the British restaurant industry and how his older daughters watched their baby brother being born (because it was an all-natural home birth). Some highlights:

He’s now 41 years old: “I would like to be 30 forever, although I quite like being 41. Dare I say it, I don’t think I’m a vain person, but I quite like how I feel and look. I am fitter than I’ve been in recent years. I am back in the game now! I am aware of getting old, though, and a little bit aware of my cheese-grater forehead when I concentrate. I’m definitely thinking about my mortality, but it’s only bringing out positive things.”

He’s never touched Botox, but he did have his first manicure: “I thought it was just for girls, but I loved it. My hands were massaged and I felt like a cat.”

He knows women feel more pressure as they age:
“It’s harder for women than it is for me. But if you Google Jamie Oliver images, it’s a comedy show. Those haircuts! I was 23 when I started The Naked Chef. I’m 41 now. I don’t feel the pressure, but I am constantly reminded that I have grown up on TV.”

His thoughts on Brexit: “If it affects me, it will affect every restaurant and every farm and everyone in the food industry, which is the biggest industry on the planet.” He says Brexit will make it even harder for restaurants to find workers. “We are constantly short-staffed. We haven’t got queues of people wanting jobs. We haven’t got enough chefs. It’s an impossibility that Britain can function without European staff. As far as I’m told by the Government, it is going to be law that every restaurant has to have apprenticeships, which is kind of cute and nice, but you can’t force it if there is no one who wants it.”

The home birth of son River Rocket three months ago: “As soon as the baby was out and safe, we got the nod – [my daughter Poppy Honey Rosie] cut the umbilical cord! To see my two teenagers watch their mum [Jools] was extraordinary. It was the right age for them, the right scenario for us, and I witnessed their initial raw emotion as the little one was handed to them. I know they respect their mum now even more than they already did. It was an amazing show of strength. It’s only controversial to really strange people! Most of the world has home births, and different countries have different habits. It was an idea from Mum and the kids, and we gave it lots of thought.”

[From Good Housekeeping UK, People Magazine]

I’m not going to wade into the home birth debate – it’s a choice every woman should make for herself, and it seems clear that Jamie’s wife was the one who decided to do a home birth, etc. I don’t even have a problem with the older daughters watching their mom give birth, mostly because I think that’s the kind of scarring experience which will keep them from having sex until they’re in their 20s. The real key to abstinence is brutal and full education about the mechanics of childbirth, I’ve always thought. That being said, having your teenage daughter cut the cord? That’s sort of a step too far, just my opinion.

As for what he says about Brexit and how it will affect the British restaurant industry… that’s interesting. I believe him. He owns an Italian restaurant chain in Britain, plus several restaurants in London, and he employs many EU workers, including foreign chefs. Apparently, Britain is facing a major drought of culinary talent when Brexit comes through, although it’s a mixed bag. Eater had an interesting story about it here. The whole thing sounds like a giant mess.


Cover courtesy of Good Housekeeping UK, additional photos courtesy of WENN.

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26 Responses to “Jamie Oliver: Brexit will affect restaurants, ‘we haven’t got enough chefs’”

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  1. Locke Lamora says:

    When I was a teenager, there is no way in hell I would ever watch my mum giving birth.
    But then again, pregnant bellies in general make me uncomfortable, so maybe it’s just me.

  2. Sixer says:

    Mr Sixer, my mum, my dad and my best friend all watched Sixlet Major being born. In a hospital. I’m not entirely sure how it ended up this way – they just seemed to arrive and not get around to leaving before the main event – but I didn’t really mind one way or the other. My dad tried to eat some of my post-birth toast and Marmite. That’s the bit I wasn’t having!

    Likewise, it is suddenly dawning on farmers in my neck of the woods who all voted Brexit because they detest the EU Common Agricultural Policy, that there won’t be any fruit or vegetable pickers. Cos they’re all seasonal workers from Eastern Europe.

    • Becky says:

      Sixer, I notice all the buyers remorse is surfacing now isn’t it? It was pointed out during the referendum campaign that certain industries are reliant on migrant workers. The hospitality/hotel industry is another esp in London.

      • Sixer says:

        Yep. I mean, you could quadruple the wages for harvesters here and STILL barely a soul would do it. People in permanent jobs don’t do seasonal work. And whether you approve or disapprove of a punitive welfare system forcing even mothers of pre-schoolers into precarity work, such people are still already in precarity work. So there aren’t even enough workless people to make do it.

        We will honestly have harvests rotting in the fields!

    • Cee says:

      Glad to know people still vote without really thinking and researching about that which they vote on.

      • Sixer says:

        Many also voted so that British courts would be superior to European courts. But when British judges in British courts make judgements they don’t like, they call them enemies of the people. Cos people are rational. Not.

  3. Loulou says:

    I have a hippie-ish friend that had a home birth with her older kids there. I wouldn’t do it personally, but I do notice her kids are a lot more mature about anatomy and have a real respect for female bodies.

  4. seesittellsit says:

    You could always start a training school for actual British youth.

    • Sixer says:

      To be fair, one of his restaurants, Fifteen, runs an apprenticeship program for disadvantaged young people. I think that particular restaurant’s profits all go to pay for it.

    • perplexed says:

      I could be wrong, but the way he made it sound it doesn’t seem like British people (for reasons that are unclear to me) are interested in working as chefs or cooks in Britain (?, I think). Which is why other Europeans seem to be needed to come in to keep the restaurant business alive.

  5. Jaina says:

    Dude. You were not kidding about those children’s names. I think my brain just exploded from concentrated twee and whimsy.

  6. GreenieWeenie says:

    “The real key to abstinence is brutal and full education about the mechanics of childbirth, I’ve always thought.” Haha. Either that, or spend a childhood raising a pile of younger siblings. Cured of interest in sex until long after your teenaged years.

    Some families are fine with everyone crapping with the bathroom door open…or everyone being in the room when babies are born. I’m not.

  7. Jo says:

    It is a mess, all a giant mess. Goodness knows how it will pan out…

  8. Scal says:

    Tweet or not-I made his chicken in milk recipe for dinner last night and it was a hit as always.

    If mom and kids are fine with home birth and being there-it’s not a bad thing. My first birth class I was amazed at 30 year old women who were clueless as to the entire process other than you push a baby out.

  9. Megan says:

    I was a fan until his Food Revolution show. He came across as so patronizing and condescending.

    • Sixer says:

      It really did! It was all “you povvos are too stupid to eat healthy”! He gets a lot of stick for his association with Sainsbury, too.

  10. original kay says:

    My sister and I were pregnant at the same time. I had a midwife, she went the more traditional way.
    What a huge difference, from the basic mechanics to emotional support to the actual birth and the after care.
    One was very natural, meaning it was just life, the other some weird medical experience, like being in a factory.

    I had hospital births, both, and here the midwives have privileges so it was the best of both.

    Do I need to add that this was just my experience, and my opinion, so no one feels the need to tell me how wrong I am, or that it might not be for everyone? good! consider it done.

    • AmunetMaat says:

      If I had my way I would go the home birth route with a Mid-Wife and Doula. My second option was a birthing center with the possibility of a water birth. Unfortunately, I am unable to get either option. This city doesn’t have a birthing center I really jive with and I would have to pay separate for a Mid-Wife, and funds are tight. Insurance covers my Ob-Gyn and the Mid Wife would need rights at the hospital but my Ob-Gyn office doesn’t have any Mid Wifes so that would have been a pain to find. So I’m glad to hear other people have the experience they want. I didn’t realize how difficult these “alternative” measures would be.

  11. Margo S. says:

    I think let his family do what makes them happy. If his wife wants to involve the daughters in the birth experience, that’s her choice. Even if I would never, I support her decision.

  12. Beckysuz says:

    I was the second oldest of 7. I do remember my mom asking me if I’d like to attend the birth of my youngest sister. I declined. I did not witness the miracle of childbirth until I was in my late 20s when I was my cousin’s birth partner. It was like staring into the mouth of hell lol. I’m kidding it was beautiful and I cried. But it was also kind of horrifying too.

    I just found out on Friday I’m pregnant with my 3rd child. Maybe I should have my 11 yo there for the birth. She will be 12 by then. I have a feeling she will not want any part of that though.

  13. K2 says:

    It wasn’t a home birth. There were photos of the whole family leaving the Portland hospital with the new baby. It’s a very swish and expensive private maternity hospital in central London.

    I had friends who saw their youngest siblings born. They found it really positive, too – I wouldn’t do it as my eldest would freak, but I can see with some kids it would be a good thing. Jamie Oliver’s talked about his eldest girls being vehement feminists, and he says it with pride, so he is doing something right IMO.

  14. Freddy Spaghetti says:

    Weird but true: Jamie isn’t responsible for those crazy names. Jools has picked out all their kids’ names. Sort of a she gave birth to them, she gets to name them deal, apparently.

  15. Alex says:

    I watched my mother give birth to my little sister when I was 13, and it was such an experience. I will never forget the energy I felt in that room, the energy of a new life being started. Call me a patriarchal hippie or whatever but I think it’s beautiful to watch a woman, or any living being really, giving birth. There is something about that moment when the baby comes out, their first breath, their first cry, the first time the mother holds her baby in her arms, that is beautiful beyond words.

    Watching that made me respect my mother so much, knowing that she went through that same thing with me. I think it made me closer to my sister, too, since I was standing next to her in the literal beggining of her life. It made me closer to my dad and my aunt, who were holding my mothers hands as she was giving birth. Something about the way they were holding her hands made me feel so proud I was a part of their family, I could felt their support through her.

    I can understand why not everyone would be into the idea of witnessing childbirth, but it makes me furious when people describe the process of childbirth as “gross”. Sure, it’s not a glamorous procedure, but how can the birth of life be gross? And just keep in mind – this happened to you, and me, and everyone else in this world. All of our lives started with a “gross” childbirth. Or did you come out of a cabbage?

    • LAK says:

      In my mind, the stock still delivers.

      As grateful as i am for the education, i’ve been scared into phobia of the pregnancy process, nevermind the birth.

      As far as i am concerned, if i can accept artificial/medical methods of intervention in my health, from dental to heart surgery, i can accept artificial/medical interventions of birth.

      I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me.

  16. kibbles says:

    I don’t think I’d want to witness anyone’s birth. As for if I ever give birth, I want to be really drugged up and just get through it as quickly as possible. I saw a video of a child birth in college and that really scarred me, but I’m the type of person who looks away when I get my blood drawn.

  17. Jellybean says:

    I really dislike him. When he came to Brazil I saw one interview and He was really unpleasant if not disrespectful with the lady that was showing our typical food.
    So, he became a no for me.