Pregnant Jamie’s Italian waitress says she wouldn’t have considered having a baby if she’d had ‘any warning’ the chain would collapse – and accuses the chef of being ‘selfish’
- Kath Dyson, 20, was told by chef via email she no longer had a job on Tuesday
- Mother-to-be, of Ely, Cambs, has lost maternity pay and five weeks holiday pay
- Worried no one will employ her now as she’s due to become a mum in 2 months
- Horrified by prospect of claiming benefits, but partner can’t afford to pay all rent
A pregnant waitress sacked by Jamie Oliver following the collapse of his restaurant empire has admitted she would never have considered having a child had she any idea she’d soon be out of a job.
Kath Dyson, 20, of Ely, Cambridgeshire, received an email from the celebrity chef informing her she no longer had a job at midday on Tuesday – half an hour after the news broke that the beleaguered chain had appointed administrators.
As a result, the devastated mother-to-be, who is now 28 weeks pregnant, has lost her six month maternity pay, for which she would have received 90 per cent of her salary, and five weeks of holiday pay that she’d saved up to spend more time with her son.
Kath is now worried she won’t be able to get another job as she’s due to become a mother in two months, and hit out at Oliver, branding him ‘seflish’.
Pregnant Kath Dyson, 20, of Ely, Cambridgeshire, pictured with her partner Ben Pattison, says she would never have considered welcoming a child into the world if she’d known she would lose her job
She added that she is horrified by the prospect of having to claim benefits from the council, but her partner Ben Pattison, 21, who works at Marks and Spencer in Cambridge, can’t afford to pay all their rent and bills by himself.
Kath told FEMAIL: ‘I feel betrayed. I’ve always loved and supported his brand, as have my family, and I just feel let down.
‘I put my faith in Jamie to be able to supply me with the six months I needed with my child, and that’s going to completely affect the first six months of my son’s life.
‘Jamie’s got children himself, so for him to do that to somebody else, how can he let that happen?’
Kath was told by the celebrity chef via email that she no longer had a job on Tuesday at midday – half an hour after the news broke that the beleaguered chain had appointed administrators
Becoming tearful, she added: ‘I am worried about the prospect of becoming a mother now. Obviously I love my son, but we would never have considered having a child if we’d have known this would happen, because it’s not fair on our child.
‘I never wanted him to ever have to suffer, and we are not financially ready to have a child anymore. That’s the hardest thing to get my head around really.
‘It’s very selfish, it’s just disgraceful that there was no warning at all, no time for anyone to prepare, that’s the worst part of it all. I could have been more understanding if we’d had time to find another route.’
Yesterday a high street expert claimed Oliver’s restaurant empire was never financially successful and ‘should have hit the panic alarm years ago’.
Kath admits she is now frightened by the prospect of becoming a mother as she is not financially ready and they can’t afford to live on Ben’s wage alone
Figures analysed by MailOnline reveal the firm lost more in a single year – £29million in 2017 – than it ever made.
The decision to put the business into administration triggered the closure of 22 restaurants, including 20 branches of Jamie’s Italian, and put around 1,300 jobs at risk.
Kath, who has been with boyfriend Ben for nearly two years, said she wasn’t surprised to hear Oliver’s business was failing as the restaurant she worked in, on Wheeler Street in Cambridge, was often empty.
‘I was always without tables and it was ridiculous,’ she explained. ‘On my last shift I served four tables in an entire day and I was working by myself upstairs in the pizzeria.
Mother-to-be Kath, who is 28 weeks pregnant, said she worries about her son’s future as she’s not in a position to get another job
‘No one wanted to go to the restaurant. I think he didn’t put enough effort into the brand, I think he got a bit lazy and took a step back, because back in the day everyone knew who he was, but he’s not kept up his brand, he just didn’t care anymore.
‘Also the portion sizes were too small, we would always have complaints about the food, and people got frustrated so they never came back.
‘I did mention it to my managers but I don’t know if it got fed back to him, but it didn’t really change.
‘I think his business plan was stupid, because he was giving small portions, charging high prices and the quality wasn’t even there, it was just a joke.’
The decision to put the business into administration triggered the closure of 22 restaurants, including 20 branches of Jamie’s Italian, and put around 1,300 people out of a job
Oliver tweeted: ‘I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years’
Now she and Ben are having to survive on his £1,100-a-month salary from Marks and Spencer, which has to cover their £810-a-month rent, plus bills.
Having always split everything evenly, Kath said she hates the fact she’s no longer able to pay her way.
‘I’m very upset that going to the council to ask for help is my only option,’ she said.
‘It’s embarrassing. We’ve always had a job and cared for ourselves. I know that’s what it’s there for, for people that need it, but we just never thought that we would have no control and have nothing. We didn’t deserve this.
Having always split everything evenly, Kath said she hates the fact she’s no longer able to pay her way and doesn’t understand how ‘family man’ Jamie Oliver could be so ‘selfish’
‘I just never thought that he would be the sort of guy to be so selfish, because he knows what families need to survive.’
FEMAIL has reached out to Jamie Oliver for comment.
Oliver, 43, who has netted £240million during 20 years in the public eye, said he was ‘devastated’ and ‘deeply saddened’ by the outcome.
In 2017 the father-of-five, who lives in a £6million 16th century Essex mansion, ploughed £12.7million of his own money into his struggling business after being given two hours to save the chain.
According to Companies House, Jamie Oliver Holdings Ltd – the umbrella company under which he runs his myriad businesses – turned over £32 million last year – a staggering £87,670 a day.
Kath said the restaurant she worked in on Wheeler Street in Cambridge was often empty and diners complained about the small portions and poor quality food
On Tuesday Ben posted an angry Twitter rant about the situation, pointing out Kath had also lost five weeks of holiday pay that she’d been saving up to spend time with her son
But Jamie’s Italian was on the brink of collapse two years ago, with the chef revealing in an interview it had ‘simply run out of cash’ and run up millions in debt.
All but three of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants have closed after the business called in administrators, with 1,000 staff facing redundancy.
On Tuesday, administrators at KPMG released a list of branches closing immediately.
Three remaining restaurants, based at Gatwick, will continue to trade but could also be at risk if no buyer is found for the business.
Timeline: How Jamie Oliver’s chains plunged into debt
Staff outside Jamie’s Italian in Piccadilly, London – they turned up for work yesterday morning only to find the restaurant closed
2008: Jamie’s Italian opened its first restaurant in 2008.
2015: Jamie At Home, which contracted agents to sell his cookware range at parties, ceased trading after racking up losses. The company began in 2009, as part of the Jamie Oliver organisation, before being licensed to another firm in 2013, but shut up shop in 2015.
2017: Jamie’s businesses lost £20m, forcing him to shut 18 of his Italian restaurants – leading to the loss of 600 jobs.
Chain was struggling with debts of £71.5m and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy before the chef injected his savings into the business.
The firm also took out £37m in loans from HSBC and other companies.
In 2017 he closed the last of his four his Union Jack Piazzas, in London’s Covent Garden.
2018: Jamie’s Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites, with the latter tranche executed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
He also came under fire for failing to pay suppliers after his upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa crashed into administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.
The restaurant in St Paul’s continued to trade and was bought out by a new company set up by Oliver, who was no longer legally liable for the debts.
2019: All but three of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants close after the business called in administrators, with 1,000 staff facing redundancy.
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