Daily Telegraph restaurant critic William Sitwell has accused London chef Richard Wilkins of sending him threatening voicemails and texts after his negative review of Notting Hill restaurant 104.
Writing in a restaurant column for the Telegraph, Sitwell claims that Wilkins left him a first voicemail at 12:30a.m., after the publication of his review of 104: ““I’m going to be waiting for you. I’m going to come and find you,” it said. “Things are going to get really dirty. I mean it, I seriously mean it.”
Further voicemails allegedly include Wilkins telling Sitwell he is going to “call [him] every day,” while Sitwell also alleges that Wilkins intends to sabotage one of his supper clubs, held at his family’s massive Northamptonshire pile, befitting the heir to the Sitwell Baronetcy:
““Maybe I’ll turn up to one of your supper clubs and spoil it,” he said in a voicemail that he left, adding for a dash of menace: “Let’s see. It’s only going to get worse.””
Sitwell claims that Wilkins has professed a motive for the messages: “some bizarre revenge plot orchestrated by a previous boss of his whom he worked for at the restaurant.” This appears to refer to chef Marianne Lumb, who left her then eponymous restaurant in 2018, before Wilkins took over the site. Sitwell then claims that Wilkins has also sent threatening texts: ““You won’t be able to avoid me for long,” he wrote in a text. “Get used to having me in the back of your mind wherever you go.””
Wilkins took over 104 in spring of this year, after a background at Anne-Sophie Pic’s Maison Pic in Valence, three-Michelin-starred The Waterside Inn, Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus and Hedone, Mikael Jonsson’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Chiswick that closed at the end of May. He also had his own eponymous restaurant in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, which closed in 2018 after under half a year in business.
Sitwell stepped down from his Waitrose Food position in October last year after sending an ill-advised communication of his own, in which he suggested that journalist Selene Nelson write an article on “killing vegans.”
A spokesperson for 104 Restaurant declined to comment on the article. Sitwell later tweeted that he has “every word recorded, logged and safely stashed.”