Updated 28/1/19 with responses from Dan and The Royal Oak
Was it really only yesterday that the restaurant scene on Twitter was wondering when the Me Too movement would finally touch down in London?
Hmm any here in the UK, I wonder? 🤔🤔🤔 I can think of at least a couple https://t.co/uQlYO0kGuT— Tim Anderson (@ChefTimAnderson) January 26, 2019
Seems like we didn't have too long to wait. This morning the Sunday Times has published a story revealing that chef and TV presenter Dan Doherty (formerly of Duck & Waffle) has been found guilty of misconduct at his new restaurant.
The chef was suspended for a month from the Urban Inn Ltd-owned The Royal Oak while an external investigation was carried out. According to the paper, allegations included claims "he sexually harassed female staff by asking for sexual intercourse and oral sex."
While many, including us, have been surprised by the news, seems it wasn't quite so much of a shock to others.
Then I’d assume you didn’t know him or anybody around him because it’s been a lot louder than whispers. I knew nothing about this incident but we all knew enough to prevent it and I personally feel sick for not saying anything.— Neil Rankin (@frontlinechef) January 27, 2019
Dan's co-founder Anna Sulan Masing at the TMRW project responded (28 January) to say she was deeply disappointed in him: "He has let down/betrayed the people who have velieved in and supported him..."
On the issue of whether she'd heard or experienced instances of inappropriate behaviour she said: "I heard them too (although not related to work). I addressed these directly to Dan in a way I felt appropriate...I believe others in the industry did too." Clearly she wasn't expecting the news to break, given her responses to chef Tim Anderson the previous day, on the issue of whether any chefs here would find the Me Too spotlight shone on them.
Yep. But they won’t get found out, not in the US style #metoo movement... libel laws here shelter them.— Anna Sulan Masing (@AnnaSulan) January 26, 2019
Finally, Dan himself took to social media to post briefly, saying he would not be returning for the second series of his TV show.
In the wake of the recent newspaper reports, I’ve decided to step away from series two of Britain’s Best Home Cook. I loved my experience of working on the show and wish it every continued success.— Dan Doherty (@DanDoherty_) January 28, 2019
And - hours later - issuing an apology.
I want to say sorry. There are mistruths in what was published but I have made mistakes, mistakes I truly am sorry for.— Dan Doherty (@DanDoherty_) January 28, 2019
But it didn't end there. Rhubarb - who he was working with on his first NYC restaurant - announced it had cut ties with the chef, saying: "We have decided to end our consultancy agreement with Dan Doherty in view of the allegations of impropriety made against Mr Doherty.
And while originally The Royal Oak had promoted Dan to executive chef from Head Chef it ended the day by parting ways with him, issuing a statement online that said: "We can confirm that Dan Doherty is no longer working at The Royal Oak with immediate effect. We will not be making any further comment about the reported incidents. Our focus is on the wellbeing of our team and business."
So is this now the start of a series of revelations relating to sexual misconduct issues within London's kitchens?I guess we'll have to wait and see. Certainly it sounds like there are stories waiting in the wings...
I’ve tried to stand up various allegations of sexual harassment in the food world, both in restaurants and the media (all of which I have good reason to believe) but without a source it’s impossible to report them.— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) January 27, 2019
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