Michelin-starred chef Jean Christophe Ansanay-Alex is due to appear before the London Central Employment Tribunal this week, claiming unfair dismissal from his position as head chef and general manager at L’Ambassade de l’Ile.
The case comes after Ansanay-Alex was fired from the Michelin-starred restaurant in South Kensington last summer following a dispute with his business partner Jean Michel Aulas.
L’Ambassade closed last August after Aulas - founder and chairman of computer software company CEGID and president of French football club Olympique Lyonnais - decided to shut the fine-dining restaurant with a view to reopening it as a simpler brasserie. It relaunched as the more casual Bistro K in the autumn, with former sous chef Armand Sablon in charge of the kitchen.
French chef Ansanay-Alex, who reurned to his two-Michelin-starred restaurant L'Auberge de l'Ile in Lyon, is now claiming unfair dismissal and whistle blowing.
“This followed increasing disagreements between Ansanay-Alex and Aulas over the issue of unpaid suppliers of the restaurant, in particular over the payment of builders who had been hired in the spring of 2008 to renovate and transform the ex-Lundum's restaurant on Old Brompton Road in South Kensington into l'Ambassade and whose invoices were still outstanding after almost a year,” the chef’s lawyer said in a statement.
“Aulas had insisted that his friend Ms Sevim Cesim was appointed as Ansanay-Alex’s right hand as deputy manager back in December 2008 and from then on Ansanay-Alex was kept away from financial management decisions and his requests that outstanding creditors were paid were ignored.
“Ansanay-Alex resigned his position as director of l' Ambassade at the board meeting on 6 July and his employment was terminated by letter dated 7 July 2009.”
The case is scheduled at the London Central Employment Tribunal for five days next week.
By Kerstin Kühn
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