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
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Guru Careers: Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager is req...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future