Former pastry chef Fat Duck sues for £ 200,000 over RSI claims | The big duck

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A former pastry chef at Fat Duck restaurant in Heston Blumenthal claimed she ended up with crippling repetitive strain injuries after placing candy in bags using tweezers and chocolate playing cards in her hand and about 550 whiskey wine gums per day, according to court documents.

Sharon Anderson, 30, who worked at the three-star Michelin restaurant in Bray, Berks, between 2014 and 2015, claims she now suffers from constant pain in her wrist and is suing for £ 200,000 in damages.

His job was to squeeze 400 candies a day into little bags using tweezers, race against the clock to make chocolate playing cards before the chocolate got too hard, and administer hundreds of tiny pinches of the chocolate. fingertips to mushroom logs, according to court documents.

Heston Blumenthal. Photograph: Ander Gillenea / AFP / Getty

Last week, her lawyers told a High Court judge that the “quick, arduous and repetitive” tasks meant she worked efficiently in a workshop as she made the concoctions imagined for the celebrity chef’s kitchen.

“She was basically on what was actually a production line,” said her attorney, Joel Kendall.

The company denies any responsibility, saying the work she did was routine for a pastry chef at a “fine dining restaurant” and that she was given enough breaks. Lawyers acting on behalf of the restaurant claim there was a glaring lack of medical evidence provided by Anderson.

Anderson, from County Donegal, Ireland, says her injury was caused by being forced to do work “too fast, arduous and repetitive for her”.

In court documents, she says her role was to wrap and wrap around 400 individual candies in cellophane bags from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., before moving on to making chocolate playing cards from around 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Chocolate playing cards were made in metal and plastic molds, while each mold could make 12 cards and weigh over a kilogram. The finished mold weighed around 2kg, it is claimed, and Anderson aimed to produce around 180 cards per day.

“The process had to be carried out under time pressure as it had to be finished before the chocolate set in each mold,” his lawyers say in court documents.

Anderson accompanied the restaurant when it moved to Melbourne, Australia in January 2015, while Bray’s premises were being renovated. As of February 2015, her work followed a similar pattern to life in Bray, she says, even though she was under pressure to deal with even more mold, due to the waste caused by the cards melting more. quickly in the warmer climate.

Her kitchen crew then moved on to making whiskey wine gum between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., she says, and she produced around 550 by hand. She now suffers from “significant wrist pain” even after performing normal manual tasks, according to court documents.

The injury means she has recurring issues with everyday tasks such as lifting heavy objects, driving and – most importantly – cooking, her lawyers have said. They claim the restaurant did not provide sufficient rest or support and “forced him to work under time pressure throughout the day.”

After a brief hearing, Judge Victoria McCloud adjourned the dispute, leading a case management conference for May 2022 before the trial of her compensation claim.


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