TV chef Anthony Worrall Thompson has become the latest victim of the recession, after his restaurant chain went into administration.
The Lamb in Henley-On-Thames was among the casualties, along with London restaurants the Barnes Grill and Notting Grill.
Two other eateries, the Kew Grill and Windsor Grill – remain open after the chef bought them back, while another of his restaurants, Ferry Lane Farm and Deli, is also still open.
The closures mean redundancies for up to 60 staff working at the three restaurants.
“This has come without any notice,” a waiter at the Notting Grill told the Mirror. “Everyone is shocked. Bookings have been down but we didn’t expect this.”
“The worst part is that yesterday was our pay day and we were told nobody will receive wages for the whole month.”
Worrall Thompson – who has been holding emergency talks with administrators – told the paper, “The administrator was stuck in snow on Friday so I broke the news to all the staff myself today. This was probably better because I could be softer with everyone and do my best to reassure them.”
“I am absolutely gutted about this whole situation. These guys are like my family and I have promised to do everything that I can to get them back on their feet.”
He added that the staff would be paid one way or another. “It will either be through a Government scheme that pays £330 a week for 12 weeks or I will pay them out of my own pocket.”
“I definitely won’t be getting my wages but I am doing my best to make sure that everybody else does.”
Worrall Thompson announced last month that he was closing his gastro-pub The Greyhound to save the rest of his business.
He said at the time, “We are all struggling and the restaurant business is especially tough. But I love this business too much to get out of it and the recession can’t last forever.”