TV chef and judge of BBC programme Britain’s Best Home Cook, Dan Doherty, was “forced to leave” his own restaurant last year while an external investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him took place.
The Sunday Times reports that Doherty left his restaurant — the Royal Oak gastropub in Marylebone — in November 2018, while consultancy firm HR180 carried out an investigation into allegations that he had asked a junior female member of staff for oral sex. It was also alleged that he told kitchen staff he wanted to see them without their chef’s whites on.
The newspaper reports that Doherty was found guilty of “misconduct” and returned to work following the investigation, when he apologised to staff. It is also reported that two former employees claimed four members of staff left the restaurant because of Doherty’s conduct. The Sunday Times adds that he “is accused of fostering a culture of harassment at the Royal Oak.”
In a statement to the newspaper, he said: “I would never intentionally make offensive comments to anyone I work with, male or female. I have apologised to the whole team for any offence I may have inadvertently caused. It would never be my intention.”
It understood that the chef, who with his business partner Andy Ward in Urban Inns Limited, is a director at the Royal Oak, has changed role. He returned to work, following the external investigation, as executive chef, where his day-to-day responsibilities and interactions with junior staff in the pub have been reduced.
“We take allegations of misconduct in any form very seriously and we used an independent HR company to thoroughly investigate some suggestions of inappropriate communications. Urban Inns Limited has acted, and continues to do so, on these recommendations, following which Dan returned to work,” Urban Inns told the Sunday Times.
Doherty, who opened the critically acclaimed pub in June 2018, stars alongside ex-Great British Bake Off presenter Mary Berry in the BBC’s Britain’s Best Home Cook, which first aired in mid-2018. He left his position as executive head chef at City restaurant Duck and Waffle in the Heron Tower in April last year. The Royal Oak was Doherty’s first solo venture.
The chef is also poised to open his first New York City restaurant at Hudson Yards, in partnership with catering firm Rhubarb. The restaurant is planned to sit alongside restaurants by David Chang, Thomas Keller, José Andrés, and London export Bluebird, by D&D.
Doherty, one of London’s most high-profile young TV chefs, also represents Sainsbury’s supermarket, writing recipes for its in-house magazine. He is the author of three books: Duck & Waffle: Recipes and stories; Toast Hash Roast Mash: Real Food for Every Time of Day; and Cooking at Home, which is due to come out this year.
Neither Doherty, nor a spokesperson for Urban Inns Limited, responded to Eater’s request for comment.
- Britain’s Best Home Cook chef Dan Doherty hit by sexual harassment claims [The Sunday Times/Paywall]