Cafe Rouge disputes kitchen claim of chef suing it for £100k

Cafe Rouge, Birmingham Bullring

A former Café Rouge kitchen worker who claims he cut his hand while slicing a baguette is suing the casual dining chain for £100,000.

Yann Boudjenah, 33, claims he was traumatised and left with a shaky hand after the incident, which occurred on Christmas Eve four years ago when he worked at the company’s Bromley branch.

According to a court report from the Evening Standard, Mr Boudjenah blames the accident on an “understaffed” kitchen and alleges the restaurant did not have a “safe system of work” when he was injured.

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He said the incident has left him battling “psychological effects” and unable to work.

Café Rouge, which is part of the Casual Dining Group and operates 70 branches in the UK, is battling the claim and disputes Mr Boudjenah’s version of events.

It claims there is evidence of a “fight” between the kitchen worker and a colleague that night.

Maurice Holmes, representing the restaurant chain, told central London county court that Cafe Rouge expected to defend a minor claim over a cut finger and was shocked to be sued for £100,000 over alleged psychiatric injury as well as loss of earnings.

He said Mr Boudjenah could win only if he showed the kitchen was “so dangerously short-staffed” it had caused the injury.

“There were five, if not six, people working in the kitchen, which is what is normal,” argued Mr Holmes.

He added: “There are two polar opposite accounts of what happened in that kitchen. Either he cut his hand innocently using a bread knife, or there was some sort of fight or commotion. They can’t both be true. If it turns out that they were fighting, that is the end of this case.”

The paper reported that Judge Richard Roberts agreed to adjourn the civil trial after hearing Mr Boudjenah’s English is not good enough to give evidence and he did not have an interpreter.

He refused a bid by Café Rouge to have the whole claim dismissed, and adjourned the case until a date later in the year.

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Andrew Seymour

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