Jamie Oliver slams 'wet behind the ears' British youth who don't work as hard as Europeans

TV chef says all his restaurants would have to close were it not for European immigrants, who are 'tougher and stronger' than their British counterparts

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 28 August 2013 00:00 BST
Jamie Oliver: European immigrants are 'much stronger, much tougher' than British youth
Jamie Oliver: European immigrants are 'much stronger, much tougher' than British youth (Getty Images)

Jamie Oliver has launched a scathing attack on the work ethic of young British people, saying that he has “never seen anything so wet behind the ears” and adding that if it were not for European immigrants all his restaurants would have to shut down.

In an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, the 38-year-old TV Chef said the EU employment regulation of 48 hours a week was really only “half a week’s work”, yet he still got complaints from British employees that they were being worked too hard.

Mr Oliver added that his European staff-members are “much stronger, much tougher”.

The comments come after the successful restaurateur, who has an estimated combined fortune of £150 million, sparked anger by suggesting that poor British families didn’t know how to feed themselves properly.

And he said he struggled to talk about modern-day poverty having seen families eating low-quality food from Styrofoam containers while sitting in front of “massive TVs”.

Now he told Good Housekeeping, in a joint interview alongside The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry: “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?”

He told the magazine: “I think our European immigrant friends are much stronger, much tougher.

“If we didn't have any, all of my restaurants would close tomorrow. There wouldn't be any Brits to replace them.”

Mr Oliver added: “It's all very well when people are slagging off immigration and I'm sure there are problems. Older people always complain about youth and I think it's a good thing because it is always changing. The young will be better at different things. But long hours in hot kitchens is not one of them.”

The full joint interview will be published in the October issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale on 5 September.

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