Perhaps in a bid to win back his ex wife Cheryl, or to revamp his tarnished image, footballer Ashley Cole is venturing out into the eating business with top American rapper Jay-Z. Jay-Z already has a chain of restaurants and clubs called 40/40 and it is expected that Ashley’s involvement will be initially based around this chain. Ashley may be taking a leaf out of Jamie Oliver’s book as he hopes to take the unemployed from the centre of London, where the restaurant will be opened, and help train them as top chefs and hospitality workers within the restaurant industry. The Chelsea footballer apparently met up with the rapper whilst he was in New York, having been brought together by NVA Entertainment, and hit it off as he has long been a fan of the singers music.
The restaurant is expected to open early next year and Ashley wants part of the venues profits to go to charity, to help on a ‘community level’, aiding the surrounding and immediate areas. Ashley was known to have said to The Sun newspaper, “I’m delighted to be working with Jay-Z. I have grown up listening to his music so to be doing business with him is amazing. And the fact we can help unemployed people by training them up and putting them to work at a top place while also helping charities makes it a great project.” With Jay-Z reported as saying that London is a perfect location for the new restaurant as it is a “vibrant and exciting” city.
It could be that Ashley is aware that at 30 years old, his football career won’t last forever and to go into business with a well established star such as Jay-Z will do him many favours. At present, his image and reputation with the British public is not good and to combine a new venture with helping young people would be a great way to rebuild it. Apparently the restaurant will be an upscale eatery and the pair have already created a short list of possible chefs they want to work in it. Talking to BBC Sport, Ashley said that the restaurant will aim to give jobs to young people from less well off backgrounds and revealed it was a British entrepreneur had introduced him to the US rapper.
Ashley has denied however that the whole venture was one big publicity stunt. “I don’t do things to try and get publicity or anything like that,” he said. “It was a great way for me to be working with people like Jay-Z and with great entrepreneurs who are going to try and make this restaurant a success. I know how hard it is to get a job because my mum had chances to get a job and never got them so hopefully I can give something back and this is a great way of doing it.” Maybe we should start booking a table now!