A former pastry chef at Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck is suing the restaurant.
Sharon Anderson, aged 28, worked at The Fat Duck from June 2014 to November 2015 and claims that the delicate tasks she was required to perform during this time have left her with chronic wrist pain.
In her case, she detailed what her working day involved. Anderson says that between 7am and 11am, she was required to use tweezers to individually pack 400 wrapped sweets into cellophane bags, before making chocolate playing cards from 11.30am to 4pm. Finally, she claims she would need to make close to 550 whisky wine gums between the hours of 4-6pm.
The chef’s case clarifies that when making the chocolate playing cards (a Fat Duck signature), she would have to hold a mould in her left hand which weighed around two kilos and that she was making around 180 cards per day.
The dining room at The Fat Duck
Anderson, who is from Co Donegal in Ireland, claims that the tasks she performed during her time at the restaurant mean that she now suffers from “significant wrist pain”, and struggles to perform simple daily tasks, as well as facing difficulty with heavy lifting, driving and cooking.
The restaurant has denied Anderson’s claims, saying that the chef’s role was similar to the patisserie at other “fine dining restaurants”, while also pointing out that Ms Anderson was transferred to lighter duties after she complained about making chocolate patisserie. They also argue that her compensation claim was filed too late.
The Fat Duck is often considered to be among the best restaurants in the UK and broke records for being the fastest restaurant in the UK to gain three Michelin stars. The Fat Duck has previously been awarded SquareMeal’s Restaurant of the Year and is best known for its unconventional dishes, such as scrambled egg and bacon ice cream, and mock turtle soup which is inspired by the tale of Alice in Wonderland.
The case is expected to return to court next year.
Heston has been in the news quite a bit lately with the chef recently causing controversy with his comments that women struggle to lift “heavy pots and pans”