Wales

Chef Stephen Terry denies discrimination at Hardwick

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Media captionMr Terry told the tribunal that restaurants are 'pressurised'

Celebrity chef Stephen Terry has denied claims of sexual discrimination made by a pastry chef at his restaurant.

Chloe Maisey, 19, from Merthyr, has made 21 allegations about working as a chef at the Hardwick, near Abergavenny.

Mr Terry told the Cardiff employment tribunal that restaurants are "pressurised" and there is "banter".

He said he was shocked after Ms Maisey's mother called claiming keys were taken from the teenager's handbag, vacuum packed and put high on a wall.

Ms Maisey claimed another chef had threatened to kill her.

"Running a restaurant is very pressurised and there is a little bit of banter - it's not a daily occurrence," said Mr Terry, a regular star of TV cookery shows.

"I have seen people take keys and move people's car around the corner so they can't find it. I have seen people hide in a freezer and jump out to scare somebody.

"Everyone has a right to say something if they experience or see something they don't like.

"If she was so distressed about all these incidents then she could have told me about just one of them.

"But at no point ever did she tell me about any of these alleged incidents."

Mr Terry told the hearing the first he heard of any alleged sexual discrimination was when Ms Maisey's mother rang.

He asked her to put the allegations in writing but she never did.

"We have had over 100 female employees at the Hardwick and this is something completely new to us," said Mr Terry.

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Image caption Chloe Maisey has made 21 allegations about working as a chef at the Hardwick

The father-of-three said he was a "family man" and took great responsibility in looking after someone else's child.

"She could have asked for a word, there were plenty of people she could have spoken to," he said.

"If these alleged incidents took place I was never given an opportunity to do anything about it. That to me is devastating."

Earlier, Ms Maisey told the hearing she was "delighted" to be working at the restaurant.

But she told the tribunal there were no female changing rooms and she was forced to change in front of men.

"They stared at me constantly and made comments about my body," she said.

"They called me fat and made comments about my boobs."

She said a male colleague "slapped my bum" and she would "get a job flipping burgers at McDonald's if she did not do as they said".

Ms Maisey also alleged she was shut in a work freezer and burnt on the arm with a hot metal tray.

When asked why she had not reported the incidents to Mr Terry, she replied: "It was the first job I had been in and I thought that was what happened.

"I did not know who to go to or who to tell. I was ashamed of what was happening to me and I did not want to tell anyone."

The tribunal continues.

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Image caption Mr Terry, seen outside court, denies claims of sexual harassment at his restaurant