Jamie Oliver: ‘I can’t rely on young UK workers’

Celebrity chef and television presenter Jamie Oliver has attacked British youth as "wet behind the ears". Picture: PA
Celebrity chef and television presenter Jamie Oliver has attacked British youth as "wet behind the ears". Picture: PA
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TV chef Jamie Oliver has called British youth “wet behind the ears”, saying that European immigrants are much “tougher” workers.

Oliver, 38, said that all of his restaurants would shut immediately if he had to find only British staff.

The chef recently sparked controversy when he said that he found it “hard to talk about modern-day poverty”, citing families forking out on giant televisions instead of healthy food.

Now he has criticised young employees for complaining about the number of hours they work.

“The average working hours in a week was 80 to 100. That was really normal in my 20s.

“But the EU regulation now is 48 hours, which is half a week’s work for me. And they still whinge about it!

“British kids particularly, I have never seen anything so wet behind the ears!

“I have mummies phoning up for 23-year-olds saying to me, ‘My son is too tired’. On a 48-hour-week! Are you having a laugh?”

The campaigning chef insisted European immigrants are much tougher, adding: “If we didn’t have any, all of my restaurants would close tomorrow.

“There wouldn’t be any Brits to replace them.” His restaurants include Fifteen, which helps the young unemployed.

In recent years the father-of-four, whose personal wealth is estimated £150 million, launched a campaign to improve the quality of school dinners in the UK.

Earlier this week he courted controversy by suggesting that most of the poorest families in Britain were choosing expensive rather than cheap food.