If you thought that celebrity chefs are immune to the effects of the economic crunch, think again. Celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson has closed his Oxfordshire restaurant, The Greyhound, due to the economic climate. It seems that not many people are going out to eat – at least in his restaurant – anymore. All of his staff have been let go due to the combination of too many empty tables and increasingly high rent.
The Greyhound was taken over by the celebrity chef 5 years ago and was able to succeed in his efforts to make it a popular dining place. In the past two months, however, there haven’t been enough customers to make the restaurant worthwhile to keep running.
Naturally, Thompson does not feel good about the closure. He said:
We had a hardcore of locals who came to the pub maybe once a fortnight, but they started coming only once every three months. There has just been a sudden realisation from the public that we are in the grip of a recession. To be seen spending money at the moment is seen as obscene.
It is a lovely country pub which we have put our heart and soul into and ran like a big family. To let some people go was a horrible thing and my wife was in tears. I feel sorry for the young chefs who were coming on really well in the kitchen – they will now just have to look for something else.
This kind of news may come as a shock to some but it also probably serves as a warning that it might happen to others as well. Let’s hope not.