Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, has taken control of GRH Holdings' Pétrus restaurant in London's Mayfair, following the public falling-out between the pair.
Hutcheson was chief executive of GRH but was forced out by Ramsay last month. A very public dispute ensued, which saw Ramsay write an open letter to his mother-in-law, Greta, in the London Evening Standard.
And now Hutcheson, who is reported to own a 30% stake in GRH, has made a move to take control of Pétrus.
In Companies House documents filed at the start of this month, Chris Hutcheson's son, Adam, was installed as director of the restaurant, while the business's registered office was changed to an address in London's Mayfair, thought to be Hutcheson's home address.
The restaurant was originally set up as a joint venture between Ramsay and Hutcheson in 1999, when it was based in the Berkeley hotel, until Ramsay's protégé, Marcus Wareing, split from the celebrity chef and set up his eponymous restaurant on the same site. The new Pétrus opened at 1 Kinnerton Street in Belgravia in March this year under head chef Sean Burbidge. But Hutcheson is listed as the sole shareholder of the company Pétrus (Kinnerton Street), according to a document filed in April with Companies House.
In a response to the move, a spokesperson for Ramsay said: "The company structure is complicated but the fact is that Pétrus is owned equally by Gordon Ramsay and Chris Hutcheson. It has emerged this week that Chris, who was CEO of GRH at the time, appointed himself sole shareholder and director of Pétrus in April 2010. He has now used this position to take control of the restaurant. Gordon's advisors are currently working to find a solution but it's business as usual at the restaurant."
Hutcheson set up GRH with his son-in-law in 1998 and together the duo, who were known to be extremely close both in business and in personal life, opened Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Royal Hospital Road, which was followed by Pétrus.
But rapid over-expansion left GRH struggling to pay back a £10m loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland and a tax bill of £7.2m. Auditors at KPMG proposed bankruptcy, but Ramsay and Hutcheson restructured the debts, and in its overseas restaurants GRH became consultants rather than owners. Figures released in August showed that GRH's newer restaurants had combined losses of £8m for the year ending August 2009.
Prior to GRH, Hutcheson ran a successful printing business, which he passed to his son, Adam, before setting up GRH.
By Neil Gerrard
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