Published: 08:57, 23 May 2019
| Updated: 10:05, 23 May 2019
A leading food wholesaler is refusing to comment on claims it had personal guarantees from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to supply his restaurant chain.
Mr Oliver confirmed earlier this week his restaurant business was going into administration with the closure of all but three of his 25 outlets.
He had previously had restaurants in Tunbridge Wells and Bluewater, but both closed during 2017 and 2018.
And, according to reports, it was during this restructuring he gave wholesalers Brakes, based in Ashford, a personal guarantee - along with the bank HSBC.
That means they could pursue the star personally for any unpaid monies.
When the KM spoke to Brakes, they refused to comment on any of the claims - or confirm how much, if anything, it was owed following the closure of the restaurant chain.
However, they did confirm all monies owed from 2017 had been paid.
Back then, Jamie Oliver, who is worth an estimated £150m, pumped millions of pounds into the company to keep it afloat.
But earlier this week he finally pulled the plug under mounting debts, forcing 1,000 members of staff out of work.
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “The current trading environment for companies across the casual dining sector is as tough as I’ve ever seen.
"The directors at Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group have worked tirelessly to stabilise the business against a backdrop of rising costs and brittle consumer confidence. However, after a sales process which sought to bring new investment into the business proved unsuccessful, the team took the incredibly difficult decision to appoint administrators.
“Unfortunately, with insufficient funds available to be able to trade the business in administration, all but the Gatwick airport restaurants have now closed."
More by this authorChris Britcher