Egg on Oliver's face as restaurant owned by chef uses battery chickens

Jamie Oliver might have declared that we should only eat free-range poultry, but now a flagship restaurant owned by the television chef and animal rights campaigner has been found to be serving eggs from battery-farmed chickens.

Staff at the Cornwall branch of Oliver's Fifteen chain bought 360 eggs from battery-farmed chickens when a regular supplier was unable to meet demand. Last Friday a party of twelve farmers and battery egg producers were dining at the beachside restaurant when one of them discovered the eggs on a tour of the restaurant.

The news is a major embarrassment for Oliver, whose one-off programe Jamie's Fowl Dinners, which highlights the industrial methods used in chicken farming, was on air at the time. He immediately said that "heads would roll".

"I am speechless. We have cast-iron rules on what any chef can and cannot buy in all Fifteens," he said. "I can't stop thinking it seems a coincidence this one-off has happened the week my programme airs. I've never been so disappointed. Heads will roll."

Oliver, 32, and fellow chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have been running a television campaign to highlight the suffering of animals in Britain's poultry industry.

He has previously boasted that his restaurants only source produce from farmers who uphold the highest ethical standards. The website of Fifteen Cornwall says its eggs come from Clarence Court in nearby Liskeard, where animals are "allowed to roam freely and given a totally natural diet".

Dave Meneer, the restaurant's chief executive said yesterday the incident was a simple "cock-up". "We ran out of eggs at the beginning of the new year and somebody ordered some but got the wrong type," he said. "We had a party in while Jamie's show was going on and they were farmers and battery egg farmers. They saw two eggs in a tray, remarked they were battery eggs and a young chef gave them one. We were pretty open. It was a mistake."

He said he had "read the riot act" to staff at the restaurant and that Oliver was "clearly pissed off" about the indiscretion. But he resisted Oliver's assertion that "heads will roll".

The restaurant, in Watergate Bay, Newquay, has served more than 120,000 customers since May 2006. It employs 16 trainee chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds and has another 19 at college waiting to take up jobs. Three other Fifteen restaurants – in London, Amsterdam and Melbourne – also employ young chefs from poor backgrounds and a Fifteen Foundation has been launched to raise the £500,000 needed to keep Oliver's apprenticeship scheme running.

Oliver, who two years ago began a hugely popular campaign for healthier food in schools, has reinvented himself as an animal welfare campaigner.

In Jamie's Fowl Dinners, he electrocuted a chicken in front of a live studio audience and showed how young male chicks judged superfluous to the industry are suffocated to death.

He wrote to more than 150,000 Sainsbury's staff last week to reaffirm his commitment to the retailer, which pays him £1.2m a year. A spokeswoman for Sainsbury said yesterday that the incident "was clearly a one-off".

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam