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."

Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
politics
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
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

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker