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Tom Aikens insists he has support from suppliers

28 October 2008 by

Tom Aikens has insisted that he has the support of many of his suppliers despite owing them thousands of pounds following the collapse into administration of his London restaurants.

Tom's Kitchen and the Michelin-starred Tom Aikens in London's Chelsea were went into adminstration and were then acquired by management buy-out (MBO) team, TA Holdco Ltd, on 17 October.

The chef's array of small suppliers are now trying to retrieve money he owes them in unpaid bills.

Daphne Tilley, whose company Elwy Valley Welsh supplied lamb to Aikens' restaurants, said she is owed close to £10,000, while Rodney Macken, co-owner of meat supplier Macken Brothers, said he is owed £53,000. He received post-dated cheques, payable from 7 October, for beef supplied over the summer, which bounced and were returned with an insolvency warning. Macken Brothers is now supplying Aikens' restaurants on a cash on delivery basis.

A spokeswoman for Aikens said the chef is "distraught" about what has happened to his suppliers.

"They have meant a lot to him - he has built up his reputation through them and he hopes to maintain those relationships in the future," she said.

Aikens is speaking to "each and every one" of his 160 or so suppliers to discuss how they can work through this and hopefully work together in the future, the spokeswoman added.

"He has had a great deal of support from many of his long-standing suppliers, and, indeed, from many fellow chefs and restaurateurs," she said.

Brent Smith, sales and marketing director of the Meantime Brewing Company, which supplies beer to Aikens's restaurants, told Caterersearch he will continue to work with Aikens.

"Tom has spoken to us about the situation and we have agreed new credit terms with him and will continue to supply his restaurants," he said.

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By Kerstin Kühn

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