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Karunesh Khanna, executive chef at the Tamarind chain of Indian restaurants, failed to tell customers that the meals contained animal products, say legal papers.
The details were revealed during an employment tribunal, which was brought by former assistant manager Mafis Ali, who lost his job when he told restaurant bosses about the chicken stock.
Chicken in vegan meals
The tribunal was told that Mafis Ali asked a sous chef that the use of chicken stock be disclosed to serving staff. When Khanna refused, saying ‘guests don’t need to know’, Ali emailed all senior chefs discloing the deception.
He raised concerns about potentially serving animal products to vegans and vegetarians, and also about the issue of serving non-halal chicken stock cubes to strict Muslims. When the email was ignored, six members of staff confronted restaurant manager Shoaib Malik, and insisted he speak with Khanna.
When Tamarind director Fateh Dhaliwal heard about the row, he said ‘those members of staff need to be phased out’ – meaning the ones who were concerned about the use of animal ingredients.
The tribunal heard that Khanna made ‘made it clear that he was not going to disclose the use of Knorr chicken powder to guests’, leading to manager Shoaib Malik resigning in disgust.
Two weeks after the row, Mafis Ali was made redundant. An employment judge ruled that Ali was unfairly dismissed. He will be awarded damages, of around £2,500 at a remedy hearing in September.
Khanna still works for the Tamarind chain of restaurants, heading up the kitchen at its flagship Mayfair restaurant.