Chef Dan Doherty is attempting to return to the London restaurant scene after an external sexual harassment investigation found him guilty of “misconduct” at The Royal Oak in Marylebone by opening a restaurant in Deptford, whose name echoes that of his daughter.
An Instagram page for Tila, at 14 Deptford Broadway, promises “breakfast, lunch, dinner, and epic Sunday roasts.” The menus include avocado toast; burnt aubergine flatbread; cuts of Hereford breed beef; and pork, chicken, and beef on Sundays. A post to Doherty’s Instagram Story promises wine from Uncharted Wines on tap; a new post says it will serve roasts this Sunday: “to book, send a DM.”
Doherty has been away from restaurants since the Sunday Times broke the news of an external investigation into his conduct at the Royal Oak, the Marylebone pub that he ran under the Urban Inns company. The investigation detailed allegations that he told kitchen staff he wanted to see them without their chef’s whites on, and allegations that he had asked a junior female member of staff for oral sex. The Sunday Times also reported that he was “accused of fostering a culture of harassment at the Royal Oak,” with Doherty giving the following statement:
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.
He left his directorship at the end of January 2019, and posted a statement on his departure from BBC’s Best Home Cook on Twitter, as well as a statement on the investigation that focused on “mistruths.”
I want to say sorry. There are mistruths in what was published but I have made mistakes, mistakes I truly am sorry for.— Dan Doherty (@DanDoherty_) January 28, 2019
The episode, as well as being highlighted as the first “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: he returned following its conclusion and was given a new role to scale back his interactions with colleagues, while four staff members reportedly left the company.
Doherty did not respond to a request for comment on his new opening, and on any specific measures and safeguards he will be putting in place to prevent reoccurrence of his behaviour at The Royal Oak.