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Social enterprise restaurant founded by Jamie Oliver closes

Chef Jamie Oliver

A restaurant set up by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to train unemployed young people as chefs has closed after 13 years amid increased competition.

Fifteen Cornwall, which was set up as a social enterprise or company that seeks to do good as well as make a profit, said in a statement it was speaking to partners to find a way to continue supporting the people on its training programme.

“I am profoundly sorry for the hurt, loss and distress this announcement will undoubtedly cause,” said Matthew Thomson, chief executive of Cornwall Food Foundation, the charity that ran the restaurant, in Thursday’s statement.

Fifteen Cornwall was set up in southwest England in 2006, four years after Oliver founded his first restaurant, Fifteen London, with a high-profile TV documentary charting the highs and lows of the endeavour.

The model of hiring and training disadvantaged people typically excluded from the workforce has been replicated by many other social enterprises since, solving a range of problems from homelessness to hunger.

Two other Fifteen restaurants were launched in Amsterdam and Melbourne, but both have since closed.

Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group went into administration in May, but Fifteen Cornwall was unaffected because it operated independently, under a franchise.

Thomson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the time that the past two years had been “very hard” on the business, which was struggling to attract business with increased competition and fewer people eating out in Britain.

Oliver said he was “surprised and saddened” by the closure and the team had done an “amazing job”.

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