Online row erupts between MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima and restaurant guest

A guest at Andrew Kojima's restaurant has been left furious after her table was given away because she was 20 minutes late

Updated on 22 January 2020 • Written By Henry Coldstream

Online row erupts between MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima and restaurant guest

Cheltenham restaurant owner and 2012 MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima has found himself in a heated online regarding his restaurant Koj, after he gave away a table because a guest turned up late.

The unnamed guest had arrived 20 minutes late for her reservation to find that her table had been given away to another party. After being told that her group could still eat but would need to sit at the counter, the chef described how the "furious" lady was “screaming and arm flailing” on his personal Twitter account. He then went on to explain that “[If she had] had the courtesy to let us know she was running late [he would] have kept her table no problem.”

In an email (pictured below) sent to the restaurant, which was also posted by Kojima on his Twitter account, the lady states: “You should not waste your time writing emails when you should be looking after your guests”, before going on to say that Kojima “would not treat your guests at home like you treated us”.

The chef has said that the lady initially demanded that the restaurant push two tables together from other sides of the room to accommodate the group, but the restaurant refused on the grounds that it would disrupt other people’s meals.

This all comes as part of a larger argument that independent restaurants need to protect themselves with latecomers’ policies and in some cases payment in advance. Just a few days ago, Michelin-starred restaurant The Fordwich Arms refused to refund a family’s deposit after their Dad died, leaving many wondering how firm these rules should be. In his Twitter tirade Kojima stated that “most independent restauranteurs share the same values” with regards to this sort of thing.

Andrew Kojima made it all the way to the final of MasterChef in 2012 before opening his much-lauded debut restaurant Koj in Cheltenham in 2017. Recent MasterChef: The Professionals winner Stu Deeley has recently announced plans to open his first restaurant in Birmingham.