Suppliers of Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens are trying to retrieve thousands of pounds after the collapse of his two London restaurants into administration earlier this month.
The move prompted Aikens’s array of small suppliers to come forward saying they were fearful that they will be out of pocket as a result.
Aikens told Caterersearch last week that he would be in touch with each of his 160 or so suppliers to discuss the situation, but it has now emerged that many of the small businesses have found themselves at the end of a queue of creditors.
Daphne Tilley, whose company Elwy Valley Welsh supplied lamb to Tom Aikens’s restaurants, said she is owed close to £10,000.
She told the Telegraph she only became aware of the full extent of the chef’s situation after a cheque bounced and was returned with an insolvency warning.
Rodney Macken, co-owner of meat supplier Macken Brothers, said he is owed £53,000. He received post-dated cheques, payable from 7 September, for beef supplied over the summer, which also bounced.
The company is now supplying Aikens’s restaurants on a cash on delivery basis.
Aikens’s spokeswoman said the chef has basically gone bust. “He doesn't have money in the pot either,” she told the Telegraph.
“He is distraught about what has happened to his suppliers. They have meant a lot to him - he has built up his reputation through them and he hopes to maintain those relationships in the future.”
However, Tilley said that Aikens’s behaviour has not brought any credit to his profession. “His behaviour is neither honourable nor that of a gentleman,” she said.
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By Kerstin Kühn
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