Kitchin hires HR specialist to probe abuse claims
Tom Kitchin: ‘proud of exacting standards’
Top chef Tom Kitchin has appointed an external HR specialist to investigate claims of bullying made by former restaurant staff.
Anonymous allegations which appeared on an Instagram page described “toxic” behaviour, violence and instances of sexual assault in his restaurants.
The 44-year-old chef who runs Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Kitchin, gastropub Scran and Scallie and Southside Scran, issued a statement on social media, confirming he had taken action.
The company has already suspended two members of staff following abuse and harassment claims.
In his statement he also denied claims that directors of the company, including himself and his wife, had taken a share of any cash tips intended for front of house staff.
In a post on Instagram expanding on a statement issued earlier this month, Mr Kitchin said: “Dear Guests, it has been a very challenging time over the past few weeks.
“Top kitchens the world over can be high-pressure, frenetic and challenging environments, where emotions often run high.
“However, the exacting standards of our food and service really must be matched by the standards of behaviour in our kitchens and wider operations.
“In the last few years, the feedback from our team members underlies the steps we’ve taken to improve what had often been a traditional culture in our kitchens, but we still have more to do.
“Whilst we are proud of the exacting standards we set ourselves, we have never pretended that we are perfect, and where further improvements need to be made, we will address those head-on.
“That’s why we have appointed an independent, external HR consultancy to investigate any complaints and, where they have merit, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.
“Historically, credit card tips and service charges have been shared between all front of house and kitchen team members, including those directors who work in the venues alongside their colleagues to create the guest experience.
“Directors have never participated in any share of cash tips. Going forward all credit card and cash tops will be shared entirely between the operational front of house teams and kitchen teams.
“During the past few weeks, I really have been enormously grateful for the heartfelt support we have received from many, many members of our team, past and present, from my fellow chefs in the UK and beyond, and from our extremely loyal guests.
“Seeing the restaurant full last night and reflecting on the incredible professionalism of our team, I really feel proud of every single one of them, and I know that they share my commitment to continually improve every aspect of our operation.”
Mr Kitchin has been a guest judge on TV’s MasterChef and appeared on the Great British Menu. He became one of the youngest chefs to receive a Michelin star at the age of 29.