Crown Casino pulls its funding from celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s troubled Australian restaurant – after staff were underpaid millions in wages
- Crown Casino has pulled its lease and financial backing for company Tipsy Cake
- The company owns Blumenthal’s Melbourne-based restaurant Dinner by Heston
- Tipsy Cake recently appointed provisional liquidators and owed millions to staff
- Blumenthal is no-longer an owner but still plays an ‘integral’ role in its operation
The survival of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s troubled Australian restaurant looks grim after the Crown Casino has moved to withdraw its funding.
The Crown Casino is in the process of pulling its lease for Heston Blumenthal’s (pictured) restaurant
The multibillion-dollar gaming empire acted as both a financial backer and landlord for Tipsy Cake, the company behind Blumenthal’s Melbourne-based Dinner by Heston.
In December, Tipsy Cake missed a deadline with the Fair Work Ombudsman to pay back millions of underpaid wages owed to staff then, days later, appointed provisional liquidators.
Crown Casino released a statement saying ‘it has taken action’ to terminate the lease of restaurant owner Tipsy Cake Pty Limited.
‘While this is disappointing, Crown is working to provide assistance to Tipsy Cake employees looking for employment within Crown,’ a Crown spokeswoman told The Age.
‘The provisional liquidator of Tipsy Cake, however, will need to deal with employee matters at the first instance.’
Crown is yet to provide the expected date of termination.
Last month, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said it was ‘disappointing’ that Tipsy Cake did not pay back underpaid workers before it went into provisional liquidation.
The Fair Works Ombudsman launched an investigation into the company’s financial activity after an investigative report revealed Dinner by Heston was under paying staff and Tipsy Cake was based in a tax haven.
Reporters found chefs were regularly working 25 hours overtime unpaid, driving their hourly wage well below the award wage, to $15-$17 per hour.
Crown Casino is in the process of terminating the restaurant’s lease, which is currently on the gambling empire’s Southbank site in Melbourne
Southbank’s Crown Casino provided the award-winning eatery with a $750,000 interest-free loan, which, industry sources say, was potentially as a tactic to draw in high-profile business.
The world-renowned chef sponsored the restaurant but has not been an owner for years. The company said he still remains ‘integral’ to its operation.
British-born Blumenthal is known for unusual food pairings and ‘multi-sensory’ cooking, which include bacon and egg ice cream, parsnip cereal and snail porridge.
Over his 24-year culinary career, he has opened several high-profile restaurants and fronted television shows, also making guest appearances on Master Chef Australia.
An investigation found Dinner by Heston (pictured) owed staff millions in unpaid wages