Chef Jamie Oliver cooks up global expansion for Italian chain

Tue Jun 4, 2013 10:40am EDT
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By Victor Coupe

LONDON (Reuters) - Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver inspired home cooks across Britain with his "pukka tukka" or nutritious food recipes and now he wants to expand his profile internationally by opening up to 20 of his Italian restaurants around the world.

Oliver, 38, whose book, television, and restaurant empire has made him an estimated fortune of 225 million pounds ($334 million), on Tuesday unveiled plans to increase the number of his Jamie's Italian restaurants overseas to 20 from 4.

The international projects are in various stages but restaurants already announced this year include in Australia's capital Canberra, in Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia, Istanbul in Turkey, Singapore and a second restaurant in Dubai.

He also has his sights set on restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

"In 2013 we will continue our international restaurant expansion and delivering outstanding products with real added value, great customer service and a range of delicious and nutritious meals," John Jackson, chairman of the Jamie Oliver Group of Companies, said in a statement.

Oliver's five-year-old restaurant chain has bolstered the wealth of the Essex-born chef, posting profits of 7.8 million pounds in 2012 on Tuesday, up 7.5 percent from a year ago.

In Britain, the chain boasts 34 restaurants.

Oliver's book and television work added another 2 million pounds to his profits in the year ending December 30, 2012 as popularity continued to grow for his "pukka tukka" food, his catchphrase to describe good or authentic food or tucker.   Continued...

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (C) carries out food for a G20 leaders dinner at Downing Street in London April 1, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Christopher