Known for his haute cuisine curries that are favoured by celebrities like David Beckham and Charlize Theron, Michelin-starred chef Karunesh Khanna has reportedly admitted to using shop-bought chicken stock to flavour his acclaimed dishes.
The executive chef of the Tamarind chain of Indian restaurants also allegedly used the Knorr cubes in vegetarian and vegan meals but failed to tell customers that they contained meat, reported UK’s Daily Mail.
After six staff members complained, Khanna, who trained at The Dorchester, Four Seasons, The Ritz and Claridge’s hotels allegedly told one manager: ‘Guests don’t need to know.’
The revelations emerged during an employment tribunal case in Central London’s Soho brought by a former assistant manager, who lost his job after he alerted the bosses about the use of the cubes. The tribunal was told that when the issue reached Tamarind’s director Fateh Dhaliwal, he backed the chef.
The judge ruled that the former assistant manager was unfairly dismissed and that the employee should be awarded damages, limited to one month’s wages of around £2,500 (over Rs two lakh), at a hearing on September 23.
Khanna still works for Tamarind at its flagship Mayfair restaurant, which reopened in December last year after a multi-million-pound refurbishment. A tasting menu, paired with wine, costs £114 (approximately Rs 10,000) per head.
In a statement issued June 28, Tamarind Kitchen denied the allegations terming them ‘baseless’.
“Ali is a disgruntled ex-employee who raised number of unfounded allegations against us in Employment Tribunal (ET) case regarding his redundancy. Ali claimed we were misguiding customers about Halal dishes. ET accepted that we are not a Halal restaurant and have never been one. We have always served alcohol and continue to do so,” the company claimed.
“We have never used chicken stock powder in Vegan or Vegetarian meals,” the statement added.