TV chef and former judge on the BBC programme Britain’s Best Home Cook, Dan Doherty, who in January was the subject of sexual harassment allegations is no longer a director in the company he co-owned. Company filings reveal that at the end of January, Doherty’s directorship was terminated by Urban Inns Limited.
The Sunday Times reported in January 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 episode, as well as being highlighted as the first so-called Me Too story in the London restaurant industry — following a wave of scandals in America — presented an ethical question as to whether it was acceptable to endorse or visit the restaurant for as long as it would benefit those accused of wrongdoing.
It would appear that the media interest (and subsequent fall out) in the story, less the accusations, investigation, and findings themselves, was responsible for Doherty’s official resignation from the company. Though the chef was suspended from the gastropub while the investigation was carried out last autumn, he returned following its conclusion. At the same time, four staff members reportedly left the company; Doherty was given a new role — executive chef — in order to scale back his interactions with colleagues.
The Sunday Times alleged that Doherty was responsible for “fostering a culture of harassment at The Royal Oak.” In the immediate aftermath of January’s expose, Doherty was said to be “no longer working at The Royal Oak with immediate effect.”
The restaurant added that they would “not be making any further comment about the reported incidents.
“Our focus is on the wellbeing of our team and business,” a statement from Urban Inns read.
The chef also announced that he would resign his role on the BBC’s Best Home Cook Show, and was sacked by Rhubarb — the restaurant partners in New York City with whom he had planned to open a restaurant this year.
When asked about the resignation this week, a spokesperson for the company told Eater:
Dan is no longer involved in The Royal Oak and the company took a decision not to provide any further comment on this at that time. Life at the pub continues and the businesses focus now is on the team and the future.
When pressed for details on the nature of the departure — namely if Doherty volunteered his resignation or if it was enforced — the spokesperson reiterated that there would be no further comment.