Rosemary’s cookery school is latest casualty of Hadlow Group collapse
12th September 2019
A COOKERY school that operated under the name of celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager has closed down.
The Tunbridge Wells school has become the latest casualty in the collapse of the Hadlow Group which ran the business on The Pantiles.
The group has seen two colleges, including West Kent, become the first in the country to fall into educational administration.
A group statement said ‘that owing to external financial pressures’ related to wider external issues at the Hadlow Group’, the Rosemary Shrager Cookery School could ‘not continue to operate in its present form, or in its existing location.’
Speaking to the Times, Rosemary Shrager said she was ‘truly saddened’ by the closure of the school which was ‘a way of engaging with the community and youngsters who are looking to develop a career within catering’.
“My heart goes out to those affected,” she added. “I continue to support the work of countless individuals working to help the next generation to learn new skills and prepare them for a future in the industry I love.”
The school, which was opened in 2013 on the back of the chef’s television success as a contestant on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, had been under the ownership and directorship of Hadlow Group for almost four years.
“During that time I have been involved on a voluntary and entirely unpaid basis in creating the teaching programmes and courses,” said Ms Shrager.
“The Rosemary Shrager brand is still with me, and I am determined that I will continue being involved in encouraging and introducing young people into the exciting and fulfilling world of catering which has been, and continues to be, such a major part of my life.”
Graham Morley, Interim Principal of Hadlow Group said: “This has obviously been a difficult decision to take. However, the financial difficulties facing the Cookery School has meant that it could not continue to operate in its current form or in its existing location.
“We hope to continue to work with Rosemary and are currently in discussion with her, and other partners, to explore future initiatives.”
Mr Morley, who became the cookery school’s sole director when he took over at Hadlow Group, has appointed Crowe LLP to assist with placing the business into liquidation.
The cookery school, which officially closed its doors on August 8, says it can no longer honour any gift vouchers and claims for refunds must be made to the liquidators.
In 2016, the school was saved from closure when deputy principal of Hadlow Group, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, stepped in and bailed out the school a week before it was due to close.
Since then, both Mr Lumsdon-Taylor and principal of Hadlow Group, Paul Hannan, have resigned from their posts, just days before they were officially suspended following an investigation from the Financial Commissioner.