The chef-patron of almost nine years at the Michelin-starred restaurant says he was dismissed from the Mayfair hotel back in October without any notice period or payment for his notice period after he entertained friends on a Sunday lunchtime when the restaurant was closed. He says that the meal, which involved having children present and playing in the restaurant, was considered by the hotel’s owners to be gross misconduct, which justified dismissal without notice or compensation.
In a statement issued by Williams he said: “I am understandably very upset and disappointed with the dismissal under these circumstances, particularly since I have been employed by the hotel for the past eight years, have had an exemplary employment record and was responsible, through the restaurant, for bringing prestige to the Hotel, achieving a Michelin star which we maintained for eight successive years and four AA rosettes for five successive years.”
Williams has already unsuccessfully appealed against the decision, saying that all food and drink at the lunch was provided by him personally, that no damage or loss was suffered by the hotel and the condition of the restaurant was carefully returned to the same state as prior to the lunch. He also says that he had used the restaurant in a similar way a number of times in the past with the knowledge of the management of the hotel.
“I have never had a cross word with the owners,” he says. “There is not one single piece of paper in a disciplinary file on me in the hotel - this is my first offence in almost nine years.”
A statement from the hotel confirmed that Williams had left the restaurant but did not address any of the chef’s claims over his dismissal. It said: ‘Following a tenure of eight years, Alyn Williams has stepped down from the restaurant that took his name. Alyn leaves the restaurant in the capable hands of Head Chef Charlie Tayler, who has worked in the kitchen for over three years.’
“We are very grateful to Alyn for the hard work he has put in whilst at The Westbury. His talent in the kitchen is evident and he’s been a real asset to the team. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours and look forward to seeing what he does next,” says Andrew Henning, general manager at The Westbury.
Williams is now asking for the hotel to remove all references to his name at the restaurant and on the website and to openly inform all customers and the general public that he is no longer the chef. While he says that The Westbury has taken some steps to make it public that he is not involved at the restaurant he claims the owners currently not complying fully with this assurance and are continuing to market the restaurant as the Alyn Williams restaurant.
He says he is currently progressing the legal actions and processes necessary to enforce his rights as an ex-employee of The Westbury Hotel and to deal with the improper and continuing use of his name and reputation.
Williams opened his eponymous restaurant at The Westbury in 2011 with it being awarded a Michelin star less than a year later. He says he will now look to open his own restaurant, most likely in the capital, and is will be seeking investment to help him do so.
“This is not going to stop me, I’ll be opening something else up,” he says. “It’s a shame this has happened but it means I’ll now be looking to open my own place and am looking for investment.”
Williams, who was named National Chef of the Year in 2012, had previously also been chef-patron at The Wild Rabbit gastropub in the Cotswolds, but he left his post in March this year to focus on the Mayfair restaurant.