Chef Aiden Byrne has hit out at robbers who stole nearly £3,000 in cash from Manchester House earlier this week, telling them to go out and get a proper job.
A group of men burst into the restaurant in Manchester's Spinningfields district after it had closed at around 12.45am on Wednesday (13 May) and threatened staff.
They initially attempted to take £2,000 worth of spirits but instead made off with almost £3,000 in cash after a quick-thinking member of staff pressed a panic button and set off an alarm.
Although they were not seen to be carrying weapons, they did threaten to stab a young pastry chef if he alerted anyone to the robbery, according to Byrne. Fortunately no staff were harmed.
Gordon Hugh Docherty, aged 27, has been arrested and appeared before Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court charged with robbery yesterday (15 May). Police said they were seeking two more men in relation to the incident.
The robbery came a day after staff from Manchester House helped to raise £8,000 for UK charity Brainwave, which works with families to deliver home-based therapies to help children with disabilities, at an event at the Church Green restaurant in Lymm, Cheshire.
No funds from that event were stolen but Byrne said that to be robbed a day after raising money for charity was particularly frustrating: "I was just a bit angry at society," he told The Caterer. "You go to work all day long and happily hand over sums that you have raised for charity and then people feel that they have got the right to come into your restaurant and just take what doesn't belong to them. It's so frustrating - they just need to go to work."
He added that the robbers could have taken much more, were it not for the fact that the bulk of the night's takings had already been collected by security guards earlier in the day.
He also praised Greater Manchester Police, whose response he described as "absolutely amazing".
Manchester House restaurant, which is backed by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts' Living Ventures, has had a high profile ever since it opened in late 2013 and went on to appear in BBC TV show Restaurant Wars, which covered its launch alongside local rival Simon Rogan's the French, and the attempts of both to win a Michelin star for Manchester.