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Tom Aikens ‘humiliated' by suppliers' £1m losses

30 January 2009
Tom Aikens ‘humiliated' by suppliers' £1m losses

Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens has admitted his business collapsing into administration and putting his suppliers almost £1m out of pocket was "a humiliation" for him.

Aikens lost control of his restaurant business after his two London eateries, Tom's Kitchen and Tom Aikens in London's Chelsea, were acquired by a management buy-out (MBO) team last year.

The restaurants' 160 suppliers were consequently left thousands of pounds out of pocket.

But in an interview with the Evening Standard, Aikens said that he felt like "a complete shitbag" for what he has done to his suppliers.

He said: "I tried desperately to save the business but after Lehman Brothers collapsed, nobody would re-finance me. This was the least-worst option because at least it means my staff still have jobs.

"However much they lost, I lost too - around £500,000 of my original investment and in solicitor's fees, despite working 18-hour days for the past five years.

"I can't alter the fact that I took my eye off the ball and that my failure has cost them, yet 80 per cent have decided to continue to supply me, initially for cash, but increasingly on credit. We're building trust again."

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By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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