Legal challenge launched by staff in Lancashire after top catering firm's collapse into administration

The employees of a Lancashire event catering firm have launched a legal challenge to get pay they are owed.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 1:33 pm

Staff from Cookeze, the Chorley-based firm partly owned by celebrity chef Nigel Smith are hoping to get eight weeks pay.

The firm went into administration last month after coronavirus lockdown caused the cancellation of all of the sporting vents where it would have normally provided the specialist catering.

The firm, which traded as Patisserie by Nigel Smith, was founded in 2010 by the chef who has appeared on several TV cookery shows and who has, in the past, worked at several Lancashire restaurants including the Villa at Wrea Green. The Villa is not involved in the legal challenge.

Chef Nigel Smith

The firm had just invested in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen in Chorley.

Carl Moran and Hannah Durham, Directors of Lancaster-based SDM Legal, have been instructed by more than 70 former employees of Cookeze Ltd to bringing a “protective award” claim, which will be lodged at Manchester Employment Tribunal within weeks.

Carl Moran and Hannah Durham, who have successfully run numerous similar claims including those for former employees of Monarch Airlines, BHS and Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd and who are currently bringing a similar claim against the Jamie Oliver restaurant group, are seeking to recover a protective award of eight weeks’ pay for each former employee as compensation for the company’s failure to consult employees on their redundancies.

Mr Moran said: “The collapse of Cookeze is a devastating event for its employees particularly in these troubling times. I am sure that many will be worried about their rightful legal entitlements and I very much hope that the additional protective award we are claiming for them, which is compensation in addition to any redundancy payments, will make things easier for them.”