Michelin-starred chef ‘put Knorr chicken stock cubes in vegan curries’

A Michelin-starred chef allegedly put Knorr chicken stock cubes in his vegan and vegetarian dishes without telling customers they contained meat.

Karunesh Khanna, who has cooked for A-list stars such as footballer David Beckham and Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, told a manager that "guests don't need to know" after six workers complained, legal papers claim.

Mr Khanna, executive chef of the Tamarind chain of Indian restaurants, admitted using shop-bought chicken stock to flavour his dishes.

The allegations emerged during an employment tribunal case brought by an assistant manager who lost his job after he alerted bosses about the use of the cubes.

The tribunal was told Tamarind director Fateh Dhaliwal backed his chef and said: "Those members of staff need to be phased out."

Mr Khanna admitted using Knorr stock cubes at Tamarind Kitchen in Soho, central London, according to the documents.

Assistant manager Mafis Ali told a sous chef he was worried about the use of the stock in June 2018 and asked that waiters be told, the Mail on Sunday reported.

When Mr Khanna refused, Mr Ali emailed senior chefs saying guests were being duped over whether dishes were truly vegan or vegetarian, the tribunal heard.

Mr Ali said he feared sneaking in the chicken stock cubes meant the dishes would not be suitable for Muslims because the stock was not halal.

His email was ignored and on June 18, 2018, six members of staff demanded to speak to Mr Khanna.

Mr Khanna, who trained at The Dorchester, Four Seasons, The Ritz and Claridge's hotels, "made it clear that he was not going to disclose the use of Knorr chicken powder to guests", the tribunal heard.

Mr Dhaliwal made Mr Ali redundant two weeks after the bust-up, and an employment judge has ruled that Mr Ali was unfairly dismissed.

Mr Ali will be awarded damages of up to one month's wages – around £2,500 – at a remedy hearing in September.

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