Michelin chef forced to lock himself in own kitchen after tourist threatens him for being closed

Chef Richard Holt was forced to call the police after feeling threatened by the man

Updated on 20 July 2020 • Written By Rosie Conroy

Michelin chef forced to lock himself in own kitchen after tourist threatens him for being closed

A Michelin chef who used to work under Marcus Wareing has revealed how he was forced to hide in the kitchen of his own restaurant after a customer refused to believe his Patisserie was closed.

Richard Holt heads up Melin Llynnon Mill at Llanddeusant on the island of Anglesey in Wales, which he renovated as a Patisserie, and has revealed that a tourist verbally abused him when discovering the chef wasn’t opening up his premises following lockdown. The mill has been closed since March – which has become a big tourist attraction and foodie destination – with Holt deciding to hold off reopening his eatery, saying he doesn’t think it’s the right time as of yet.

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On Saturday the chef came under fire from an angry dad who was visiting the mill, who couldn’t believe that anywhere serving food wouldn’t now be open. North Wales Live reported that the police had to be called after the man, who was with a young boy, insisted on being allowed into the Patisserie. Upon being informed the Patisserie was in fact closed it is reported that the tourist unleashed a tired of abuse on Holt, as well as a host of threats, forcing the chef to lock himself in his kitchen.

The chef told North Wales Live: "We are closed by choice because I personally believe it’s not the right time to be easing the rules. I don’t blame all the other places for opening because remaining closed is causing us some genuine hardship. Thankfully none of my family have underlying health conditions, so it’s just a matter of public safety. We have signs everywhere and a great big barrier that says 'closed'.

 
 
 
 
 
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"This gentleman appeared to be climbing over our gate with his son, so I poked my head out of the window of my bakery kitchen, where I was preparing something for my TV series, and said politely 'sorry sir, we’re closed'. He climbed over anyway, so I went out and said 'sorry, I don’t think you heard me correctly, we’re not open to the public at the moment'.

"At this point he lost his temper and started shouting abuse, telling me how disrespectful he thought I was being and that he didn’t care if he was on private property or not. I tried reasoning with him and explaining that my family usually work on site and that we also took this time to spray potentially harmful chemicals on the weeds, so I was concerned about his young son.

"He began shouting even louder and squared up to me aggressively, cursing, all the while with his young pre-teen son in earshot."

Holt then said the man accused him of being racist and shouted "serious insults", while also swearing and "squaring up to him".

"He had his fists clenched, frothing at the mouth, and he was about a foot away. Not quite the two meters he should have been”. Holt Added

"There was nobody else around and he was considerably bigger than me, too. With this in mind, I thought I should back down and do what he said. I locked myself in my own kitchen, which felt slightly dehumanising, and witnessed him return to his car.

"He put his son in the back seat where another young child was already sitting. I thought it was over, but he then went back on the site by himself.

 
 
 
 
 
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"I thought he might be motivated to do some damage, so at this point I called the police. His wife, who was in the car, saw me on the phone and went looking for him. As they drove off, the emergency call handler asked for the number plate and the direction he was heading. I told them not to prioritise the incident despite his threat of returning."

Explaining that he wouldn’t let the incident put him off working in the area, or with tourists, Holt said: "Some of the best people I met last year were tourists. I love visitors and I am completely dedicated to Anglesey tourism. This is a one in a million kind of scenario and it certainly has not put me off continuing in this industry.”

Holt previously worked for Marcus Wareing as a head pastry chef in the 2 Michelin kitchen of The Gilbert Scott, and also owns Michelin starred Sosban & The Old Butchers in Wales. The popular chef also regularly makes TV appearances, even having presented his own shows. 

Following the incident Holt says he will be looking at the patisserie's current policy and making changes for the physical safety of his staff and family.

Looking for light relief? Here is everything you need to know about the Eat Out to Help Out scheme the government are offering in August, which allows you to eat out half price.