Jamie Oliver has said all of his restaurants would close immediately if it were
not for European immigrants who are prepared to work long hours in hot kitchens.
The celebrity chef said British youngsters were “wet” in comparison to their European counterparts, who were “stronger” and “tougher”.
His comments come just a day after he was criticised for remarks he made about the working class diet, citing families who bought large televisions instead of healthy food.
Now Oliver, 38, who is currently promoting his new Channel 4 programme, Jamie’s Money Saving Meals, has told Good Housekeeping magazine that he thinks “our European immigrant friends” are more cut out for hard work.
Oliver, who has more than 30 UK branches of Jamie’s Italian, as well as three branches of Fifteen, where young unemployed people are taken on as apprentices, said: “If we didn’t have any (European immigrants), all of my restaurants would close tomorrow. There wouldn’t be any Brits to replace them.”
Oliver, who has criticised the work ethic of young Britons before, added: “It’s all very well when people are slagging off immigration and I’m sure there are problems.
Older people always complain about youth and I think it’s a good thing because it is always changing. The young will be better at different things. But long hours in hot kitchens is not one of them. I have never seen anything so wet behind the ears [as British kids] I have mummies phoning up for 23-year-olds saying to me, ‘My son is too tired’.”
His latest controversial comments follow a row between Labour and Next, the high street clothing chain, and Tesco over their use of foreign workers.
Next said it was forced to hire Polish workers because it could not find enough British people to take temporary summer jobs.