The Evening Standard reports that Sharon Anderson is suing the three-Michelin-starred Bray restaurant for £200,000 of damages.
She argues that the “fast, arduous and repetitive” preparation tasks she was given caused her injury, and sparked bouts of depression and anxiety that has left her unable to work since leaving the restaurant in November 2015.
The restaurant denies liability and is set to fight the negligence allegations in the High Court, arguing Anderson’s roles were common to the sort of patisserie practised in other “fine dining restaurants”.
Anderson, who joined The Fat Duck as a commis chef in June 2014, says her tasks included spending four hours individually packing 400 wrapped sweets into cellophane bags using tweezers.
She also claims she spent hours each day making chocolate playing cards, which involved holding a mould weighing about two kilos when full in her left hand with her wrist extended.
Her barrister, Charles Robertshaw, says the pain in Anderson’s forearm had become “significant” by June 2015, and a physiotherapist blamed it on “long hours and repetitive work”.
Anderson says carrying out normal daily tasks now leaves her with “significant wrist pain”, and causes her to struggle with heavy lifting, driving and cooking.
She claims the restaurant failed to give her proper rest periods or support, and “required her to work under time pressure throughout the day”.
The Fat Duck denies the claims, pointing out that Anderson was transferred to lighter duties after she complained about making chocolate patisserie.
It says her workload was not oppressive, and she was given adequate support.
The restaurant also argues that Anderson’s compensation claim was filed too late.
The case is due to return to court next year.