Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has blamed Brexit for the collapse of his restaurant chain.

"The world changed, the high street changed – it started to become Uber-fied – our competitors changed, and we looked less different to them as we did in the beginning," he explained on BBC radio.

"Then, when there's that chain reaction, throw a bit of Brexit in, say the B word, confidence goes and people's habits changed."

Only three months after most of his restaurants were shut down, Oliver has launched a new two-part programme on BBC Radio 4, Jamie Oliver: A Life Through Food.

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On the show he also claimed his 40th birthday was ruined by the collapse of his business.

"My 40th birthday was ruined because of the cloud of [thinking], 'Oh right, what's happening here?' and working out what are the consequences and what do we do.

Roughly 1000 jobs were lost when all 25 outlets of Jamie's Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen closed. Photo / Getty Images
Roughly 1000 jobs were lost when all 25 outlets of Jamie's Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen closed. Photo / Getty Images

"In a way, there is a massive sense of relief because I gave it my best, and I thought I could fix it and I thought I was clever enough and big enough to fix it."

Around 1,000 of Oliver's staff lost their jobs when all 25 outlets of Jamie's Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen closed in May.

In a statement at the time, Oliver said he and staff had "put our hearts and souls into the business" and described the administration as a "difficult time for everyone".

The TV chef believes people stopped eating at restaurants because of uncertainty when Brexit was announced after the 2016 referendum. Photo / Getty Images
The TV chef believes people stopped eating at restaurants because of uncertainty when Brexit was announced after the 2016 referendum. Photo / Getty Images

In the BBC interview he says three months on he is trying to "stay humbled" and "deal with the mess".

The father of five opened his first Jamie's Italian in 2008 and saw rapid expansion across the UK in the early 2010s.

The company had been in trouble for at least two years, despite Oliver's global fame on the back of his cookbooks and television shows. Last year, it shut 12 of its 37 sites in Britain, while five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie's Italian were sold off and another put into administration.

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