As Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver is partially-known for his Italian restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian, fans of the chef and restaurant have been curious about it. Did Oliver create an Italian restaurant because his family is Italian? If so, does that mean he can speak Italian?
It’s thought that Jamie cannot speak Italian fluently. Jamie Oliver was born and raised in the United Kingdom to parents who were also born in the UK.
Read more below about what Jamie Oliver’s background really is and why he started an Italian restaurant chain.
Jamie Oliver’s Background
Jamie Oliver has grown up in the United Kingdom. He had his first job at his parents’ pub, The Cricketers, and went to school in London at Westminster Catering College.
He and his family, including wife, Jools Oliver, and their five children Poppy, Daisy, Petal, Buddy and River, all live in England.
He did briefly leave the United Kingdom to study being a pastry chef in France. He came back though and ended up working as the head pastry chef at Neal Street Restaurant in London.
All this being said, Jamie is very British, not Italian. He never grew up learning another language either as he struggled with English already.
Jamie is dyslexic, so he had trouble reading. Thus, he is not Italian and cannot speak Italian, he only speaks English.
Although Jamie Oliver is not Italian, he loves Italian food, so he opened an Italian restaurant named Jamie’s Italian in 2008 in Oxford, England.
He went on to open forty-two restaurants throughout the United Kingdom and has locations around the world.
In the television series, Jamie Oliver travels to different regions in Italy and tries their specialty food.
The book following the series is a cookbook with 120 Italian recipes inspired by the Italian people he met along the way.
Two years after the cookbook was released, Oliver took it one step further and opened his Italian restaurant.
He did so based on the success of the series and book. He said that English people fell in love with the way Italians cook and eat after seeing it on his show.
Oliver also loved that eating and cooking in Italy was a family affair and he wanted his restaurants to feel like that.
His restaurants did in fact also become very successful. Not only in the United Kingdom but abroad as well.
Entrepreneurs were franchising Jamie’s Italian all over the world in twenty-seven different countries like Australia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
In 2019, however, a lot of Oliver’s restaurants were lost as they went into administration. This meant he lost most of the chains that he owned across the United Kingdom.
The chains were having financial trouble despite Oliver having put over £5.2 million into the restaurants in 2018 alone.
As the franchises abroad are owned by other people, most of them are still open. In the United Kingdom though, twenty-two of his twenty-five restaurants closed down, leaving only his three outlets at Gatwick Airport open still.
Jamie has said that he is “deeply saddened” by the closings as his restaurants were his passion project.
Despite the closing, Jamie Oliver is still working as he went on to host a new television show in 2020, Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On.
So, although Jamie Oliver did have an Italian restaurant chain, he grew up in the United Kingdom speaking only English, not Italian.