Top chef quit sold-out restaurant 'after clash over burger and chips'

Acclaimed 25-year-old said his position was 'untenable'

One of Britain's most hotly tipped young chefs has walked out of his acclaimed restaurant residency after just a month amid claims that he did not wish to cook "pub grub" such as steak or burger and chips.

Ben Spalding, 25, has won rave reviews for his innovative cooking at the John Salt bar and restaurant in Islington, north London, but yesterday he said his position had become "untenable".

His 12-course tasting menu had featured dishes including a brick coated in caramel glaze with chicken liver parfait and a 45-component salad.

The Independent's review of John Salt, which opened in November, praised Mr Spalding's "extraordinary" cooking and described his heel of beef as "like a roast on ecstasy; every taste is heightened".

But at the weekend it was revealed the young chef had walked out of his six-month residency with immediate effect, despite sold-out bookings into the New Year.

Announcing his departure, Mr Spalding hinted at a dispute with the owners of the restaurant. He said: "When teams part ways you hear a lot said about different directions. That is the case with John Salt and I. They wish to present a different food offering. I wish them well, but their plans are not my plans." Last night sources close to the chef claimed that he had refused to compromise and cook gastropub staples such as "burger and chips", although the restaurant declined to comment on the reasons for his exit.

Mr Spalding, who claims to survive on less than three hours sleep a night, has a CV featuring stints at the world's top restaurants, including Heston Blumenthal's three-star Fat Duck, in Bray, Berkshire, and Le Manoir, the two-star Oxfordshire restaurant run by Raymond Blanc.

His last position was at Simon Rogan's critically-acclaimed and award-winning Roganic. Mr Spalding said he would "make amends" to people with bookings at John Salt and has offered to cook and arrange a venue for groups of disappointed diners.

He said: "We're looking for investors and at restaurant locations now with a view to creating something very special.

"I'm hoping I'll be able to invite you to my own restaurant very soon."

While Mr Spalding's carefully worded statement offered little insight into the reasons for his walkout, his postings on Twitter yesterday shed more light on the situation.

He said his position had become "untenable" and he would work permanently on his "terms" and with the "right people" in his next venture.

In another posting he said the situation had been "handled in a poor, disrespectful way".

John Salt said it would be offering a 50 per cent discount to customers who had booked expecting Mr Spalding's cooking. The restaurant said in a statement: "Together we have made the joint decision to finish on a high and to follow the different decisions we both wish to pursue.

"We wish Ben well with his future plans."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee