TV-chef Michel Roux Jr condemned for failing to pay living wage

An investigation by the Guardian found the celebrity chef was paying some staff just £5.50 per hour

Celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr has admitted to paying some of his restaurant staff less than the national living wage, according to an investigation by the Guardian.

In a statement published by the management team at Michel Roux Jr’s Mayfair restaurant, Le Gavroche, it was confirmed that some employees at the restaurant were being paid just £5.50 per hour; almost £2 under the national living wage of £7.20 for over 25s.

Michel Roux Jr was a judge on BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals before he left the show in 2014. Patrons dining at his exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant can expect to pay up to £65 for some starter courses, while a tasting meal will cost over £210.

Celebrity chef admits to paying less than the national living wage

La Gavroche is situated in the upmarket area of Mayfair, London. © Copyright David Hallam-Jones

Some La Gavroche employees said they were receiving as little as £375 per week, despite working 68 hours. Speaking to the Guardian, one La Gavroche staff member said: “It is clear exploitation and inexcusable.”

The president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), Raymond Blanc, a fellow TV-chef, said the findings of the Guardian investigation were like “a massive own goal” for the restaurant industry and that paying staff less than the national living wage is “simply not acceptable”.

Since the investigation went public, La Gavroche has said it will be increasing all wages in line with the national living wage and the national minimum wage “with immediate effect”.

The current national living/minimum wage rates in the UK are:

  • Living Wage: Ages 25 and over: £7.20
  • Minimum wage: 21 to 24: £6.95
  • Minimum wage: 18 to 20: £5.55
  • Minimum wage : Under 18: £4.00

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