Tom Kitchin has broken his silence after claims were made by former staff members who complained that his restaurants fostered a “toxic workplace”. 

Claims made on an anonymous social media account alleged that there was bullying and physical assault in his restaurants, which included a burn. 

The 44-year-old chef who runs Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Kitchin, broke his silence on social media with a 300-word statement to confirm that the Kitchin Group had appointed an independent HR company to probe allegations.

He added that directors of the company, including himself and his wife, had never taken a share of any cash tips intended for front of house staff.

READ MORE: Tom Kitchin staff suspended amid bullying claims

In a statement posted on Instagram, Tom Kitchin said: “Dear Guests, it has been a very challenging time over the past few weeks.

“Top kitchens the world over can be high-pressure, frenetic and challenging environments, where emotions often run high.

“However, the exacting standards of our food and service really must be matched by the standards of behaviour in our kitchens and wider operations.

“In the last few years, the feedback from our team members underlies the steps we’ve taken to improve what had often been a traditional culture in our kitchens, but we still have more to do.

“Whilst we are proud of the exacting standards we set ourselves, we have never pretended that we are perfect, and where further improvements need to be made, we will address those head-on.

“That’s why we have appointed an independent, external HR consultancy to investigate any complaints and, where they have merit, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.

“Historically, credit card tips and service charges have been shared between all front of house and kitchen team members, including those directors who work in the venues alongside their colleagues to create the guest experience. Directors have never participated in any share of cash tips. Going forward all credit card and cash tops will be shared entirely between the operational front of house teams and kitchen teams.

“During the past few weeks, I really have been enormously grateful for the heartfelt support we have received from many, many members of our team, past and present, from my fellow chefs in the UK and beyond, and from our extremely loyal guests.

“Seeing the restaurant full last night and reflecting on the incredible professionalism of our team, I really feel proud of every single one of them, and I know that they share my commitment to continually improve every aspect of our operation.”

It comes after Kitchin was accused of ‘manhandling’ his employees. 

Two former staff members have come forward to allege that they had seen the Edinburgh-born restaurateur punch and drag chefs by their collars at Leith’s The Kitchin. 

The group has suspended two members of staff following abuse and harassment claims.