‘We can’t operate the restaurant with any form of social distancing — even if it was a one-metre’

The Staff Canteen

Brett Graham has said that two Michelin-starred The Ledbury in Notting Hill ‘cannot reopen as long as social distancing is in place and he doesn't know what will happen after that’.

The news was announced by Bloomberg’s Richard Vines on Twitter but Brett has not said that the restaurant would permanently close.

He did confirm to Eater, ‘that all staff began the formal redundancy consultation process yesterday and that he could see “no route to reopening”’.

He told Eater ‘he and his business partners simply did not know what was going to happen with government policy, scientific advice, and the future of hospitality’.

He said: “We can’t keep customers and staff safe. If there was an outbreak at the Ledbury, then it would be devastating. I just can’t think of any way to [reopen].”

The Michelin-starred chef believes ‘any form of social distancing wouldn’t work at his restaurant and that he had no confidence that The Ledbury’s customer base would be able to revisit in the near future’.

“We can’t operate the restaurant with any form of social distancing — even if it was a one-metre. The economy is smashed; there are no customers in hotels, no international flights,” he said. “The [existing] business model is not viable.”

“I’m gutted. It’s been 15 years. There’s no winners in any scenario. I just don’t want to put anyone at risk.”

All suppliers have been paid in full at their usual rate and there are no outstanding invoices. He said that when the next quarterly rent payment was due, at the start of July, his current plan was to make that payment, because that money is owed. The business will ‘maintain the lease on the property, because he couldn’t say for certain what would happen in the future’.

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th June 2020

‘We can’t operate the restaurant with any form of social distancing — even if it was a one-metre’