Chef Dan Doherty leaves BBC series over misconduct claims

TV personality and Royal Oak chef Dan Doherty has announced he is leaving his role on the BBC’s Britain’s Best Home Cook amid an investigation into allegations he harassed female staff at his London restaurant.

Doherty, who became the subject of sexual misconduct claims in a report by The Sunday Times, announced on Twitter that he would leave the show “in the wake of recent newspaper reports.”

According to the report, Doherty was banned from his own restaurant — The Royal Oak in Marylebone — at the end of last year during an investigation into claims that he harassed female members of staff by asking for oral sex.

“In the wake of the recent newspaper reports, I’ve decided to step away from series two of Britain’s Best Home Cook,” he Tweeted on Monday 28 January.

“I loved my experience of working on the show and wish it every continued success.”

The chef added in a second tweet that there are “mistruths in what was published but I have made mistakes, mistakes I truly am sorry for.”

Doherty left the restaurant in November. During this time an external consultancy, HR180, conducted an investigation into his behaviour.

During the inquiry, the consultancy heard the chef asked for oral sex from a junior colleague, and told staff he wanted to see then without their kitchen whites on.

Former employees of the Royal Oak also claimed that his behaviour caused four female members of staff to leave their positions.

A Royal Oak spokesperson told the Sunday Times that Doherty voluntarily left his post during the investigation, and was reinstated with a new role when it closed.

A spokesperson for HR180 declined to comment for this story.

The BBC said it was “appointing a new judge for Britain’s Best Home Cook to join the rest of the line-up,” in an emailed statement shared with the drinks business.

“We’re looking forward to a new series which will be back on air in 2020.”

In a statement to the Sunday paper, the Royal Oak also confirmed he was no longer employed by the restaurant.

the drinks business has contacted The Sunday Times for comment regarding Doherty’s assertion that “mistruths” were published. We will update this story when we receive a response.

In the fallout over the investigation Rhubarb, the hospitality firm Doherty was working with to open a restaurant in New York, said it has “severed ties” with the chef, reports Eater.

Doherty had been executive head chef at Duck & Waffle, (and later chef director) at the restaurant located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower since it opened in 2012. He left Duck & Waffle in April last year.

The chef is also the founder of Chefs of Tomorrow, an industry body promoting young people working in hospitality. The group held frequent panel discussions focusing on women in the industry and the “unique pressures” they face.

The company tweeted on Sunday that it went on hiatus “for most of 2018,” but alluded that this was not related to the investigation.

“This was due to changing workloads, (opening new restaurants, new jobs) as well as a shift in the industry – and as the project is based on finding ways to support the industry it needed to pause and re-think how it could do this.

“Both Anna Sulan Masing and Emma Underwood are committed supporting those coming up in the industry and will continue to do so in whatever capacity is positive and productive.

“It is a collaborative project that has always been spearheaded by those best placed to do it.”

In a statement shared with the drinks business, Kate Nicholls, the CEO of industry body UKHospitality, said the sector is “working proactively to ensure that wherever it occurs, sexual harassment is reported and eradicated. UKHospitality is a signatory of the London Women’s Night Safety Charter which coordinates campaigns to prevent harassment and ensure incidents are reported and dealt with.”

“Sexual harassment is a serious matter and neither staff members nor customers should be expected to put up with it. Any victim of sexual misconduct should report the matter immediately.”

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