'You can take our flavours but won't hire our people': London chef slammed for only hiring white men

1 August 2023, 12:13 | Updated: 1 August 2023, 12:17

Thomas Straker posted the picture to his millions of followers on Instagram
Thomas Straker posted the picture to his millions of followers on Instagram. Picture: Instagram
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A London chef has been slammed after posting a picture of his restaurant staff, all of which are white men.

Thomas Straker, who has millions of followers on Instagram, recently posted pictures of his team outside his trendy Straker's restaurant in Notting Hill.

Straker, who regularly posts videos of colourful dishes on his page, captioned the post: "Chef team assembled."

The chef was almost immediately hit with a fierce backlash, with critics questioning why he had not hired any women or people of colour, and was accused of promoting the idea that top restaurants were 'a white boys' club'.

Juicy Broome said: "As a female chef who’s worked in countless all male environments I wouldn’t even bother applying for a job role here, if you exclude women and POC from the get the go you’re not only part of the problem but an ongoing continuation of it, no one in their right mind who’s not a white male would want to work here after that response."

Becky Paskin said: "Too often we say ‘we only recruit on the basis of the best people for the job’ without any consideration the role bias plays in the selection process.

"It’s been proven time and again that diverse teams are more creative, productive and successful.

"If every member looks the same and has the same background, you’ll find they’ll all think the same as well. Forming diverse teams is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense too."

Another user added: "You can take our flavours but won't hire our people."

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Initially, Straker fought back against the fierce backlash, asking people to provide "solutions not problems".

He said: "Honestly people need to calm down. Firstly there is a shortage of chefs / hospitality workers.

"Secondly if you feel so passionately please go and gather CV’s of any chefs you think we’re missing in the team. Solutions not problems."

Straker has an all-white male team
Straker has an all-white male team. Picture: social media

Straker has a huge social media presence with more than one million followers on Instagram, two million on TikTok and 250,000 on YouTube.

But after more people continued to criticise Straker after his initial response, he backed down and apologised for lashing out.

He wrote: "On Friday night, I put up a post of my chef team and many rightly pointed out the lack of diversity in it. I am very sorry for my initial response, where some queried whether I take this issue seriously.

"I am absolutely committed to ensuring diversity in my restaurants, unfortunately we aren't achieving this in my kitchens currently and this is an area I know I need to improve on, making sure it is seen as a welcoming and approachable environment for all. Tom x."

He is known for cooking colourful recipes, with butter playing a big role in his recipes.

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