Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation pub The Cock at Beazley End in Essex has been forced to close, Caterer has learnt.
Aaron Craze and his partner Nicci won the chance to run the pub after competing against 13 other Fifteen graduates in the Channel 4 programme Jamie's Chef in February last year.
After Craze initially struggled to run the pub successfully, he seemed to have turned around the business by the summer when Caterer ran an exclusive cover story on The Cock.
However, the pub ran into financial problems and was forced to shut.
A spokesman for the Fifteen Foundation said the organisation is currently in discussions about taking The Cock forward as a business.
“Aaron and Nicci have worked tremendously hard and produced an award-winning product to try to make it work but many small businesses struggle, especially in rural areas and in the current economic climate,” he said.
“Decisions are currently being made to help the family and Aaron has been offered work within the Jamie Oliver organisation.”
A Beazley local told the Mirror he felt the pub’s Italian food offer did not fit the market.
“He turned it from a delightful country pub into a vulgar gastropub selling over-priced, poncey food,” he said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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