MasterChef winner’s company with TWO high street restaurants shuts down – leaving £1m debt | The Sun

MASTERCHEF winner Kenny Tutt’s restaurant business has gone bust owing over £1 million to the taxman, bank, employees and even loyal customers. 

Last month, Tutt was forced to defend the closure of his two restaurants, Pitch and Bayside Social, both in Worthing, west Sussex, amid claims that he’d left workers in the lurch with monies owed and some were forced to use food banks.

Now we can reveal that Tutt’s firm Pitch Foods Ltd is being wound up in a creditor’s voluntary liquidation with a huge number of debts.

Employees will be first in the queue for any recompense as the preferential creditors as they are owed £35,689 in wage arrears, holiday pay and pension schemes. 

Only £17,732 in assets is currently available to pay this back, according to the liquidator’s statement of affairs filed at Companies House. 

HMRC is owed £203,285 in PAYE and £359,871 in VAT. The company also has a £84,581 debt with Santander.

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Non-preferential claims include a further £78,735 to dozens of trade and expense creditors, including Ocado, Waitrose and the local council. 

Employees are owed a further £48,835 – it’s not known what this is for – and even giftcard holders are indebted by £36,221, presumably for vouchers that haven't yet been used. 

The share premium account – shares purchased by the directors at an inflated price – is also owed £169,775. 

Yet these non-preferential claims are likely not to receive a penny. 

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All together, the firm owes £1,072,981. 

In August, a local Facebook page claimed that staff at Pitch weren't properly informed about the restaurant's closure and haven't been paid for their work.

Part of a lengthy post read: "The staff are owed wages, holiday pay and tips. In my son’s case his wages were £2000 per month, he was owed £800 holiday pay as he worked without taking holiday so he could afford to pay bills. Also all staff got around £400 a month in tips which was the amount after equally sharing the total amount. All tips have been withheld including cash tips."

It went on to say some staff are now reliant on food banks and can't pay their bills.

But Tutt hit back at this, saying in a statement to The Sun: "We’re working through the process of closing down the business, including official liquidation, which does take time. We are also using the Redundancy Payment Service, which means that all staff will receive full payment including any holiday pay, redundancy pay + any notice owed. This process can take between 3 – 5 weeks though.

"We are incredibly sad to have to close our business, but we’re working with all of our staff to help them seek other employment in the local area, and have also been able to employ over half of the team on new projects we’re working on."

The chef and his business partner wife Lucy now look set to open a café inside the town's historic Dome cinema after a licensing application was greenlit by the council.

The business move has been met with anger from some locals who have vowed to boycott the new venture due to the way the restaurant closures have played out.

Kenny opened Pitch in 2019 just months after winning MasterChef. The contemporary restaurant had an emphasis on seasonal British dishes and also operated as a cookery school with masterclasses from Kenny himself.

After closing the eatery, he wrote on social media: "It is with a very heavy heart that today we say goodbye to our restaurant Pitch. A place that has grown into a real part of the community in this great town.

"We want to thank every single one of our customers who have passed through our doors. The countless anniversaries, birthdays and special occasions we have had the pleasure to be some small part of and our brilliant team who have made it a time to remember for many.


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"We have tried everything we can to remain viable however we do not believe in passing on the ever-rising costs to our patrons and becoming something that we didn't set out to be. It's farewell to this chapter and we are sure there will be more to come.

“We have had some fantastic times, it’s been a real adventure."

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