THE Jamie Oliver Group has distanced itself from a report in the Limerick Leader, print edition, stating that efforts were under way to bring a branch of the celebrity chef’s Fifteen restaurant concept to the city.
A statement said that the Jamie Oliver Group “wishes to make clear that there are no current plans to open a Fifteen restaurant in Limerick nor enter into partnership with any local entrepreneurs in the Limerick area to set up a restaurant or apprenticeship scheme.”
Local entrepreneur Derrick Amrein had floated the idea of a Limerick Fifteen - a concept which involves training chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds.
He says he has raised almost €500,000 in private capital, and has discussed the idea with Limerick City Council, and LIT.
Following the communication from Jamie Oliver’s office, Mr Amrein said contacts have been made with two of Fifteen’s franchises - notably Cornwall in England.
Mr Amrein said they have been in email contact. “We have been dealing with Matthew Thomson, chief executive of Fifteen Cornwall who has connections with Limerick. We have been building our business plan with two Masters students from UL. We have been shortlisted for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland,” he added.
“We are working on this for 18 months. We are trying to bring this project to Limerick, and it will be a plus for Limerick. But we haven’t got the licence yet. It is a work in progress,” he concluded.