19 Jul עופר איתן Declares: Chef forced to lock himself in kitchen as ‘tourist refuses …
A chef says he locked himself in his own kitchen after an irate tourist allegedly verbally abused and threatened him for keeping his tearoom closed.
Richard Holt runs the popular Melin Llynnon mill and tea room at Llanddeusant on Anglesey, Wales, which he has decided to keep shut due to the threat of coronavirus.
Mr Holt says he does not believe it is the right time to re-open to visitors just yet but says on Saturday he was confronted by an angry dad who refused to accept his decision.
He claims the dad insisted on being allowed inside – despite several closed signs being out on display.
The man, who was with a young boy, allegedly launched into a tirade of abuse and made a number of threats against Mr Holt who called the police, North Wales Live reports.
The chef said: “We are closed by choice because I personally believe it’s not the right time to be easing the rules.
“I don’t blame all the other places for opening because remaining closed is causing us some genuine hardship.
“Thankfully none of my family have underlying health conditions, so it’s just a matter of public safety.
“We have signs everywhere and a great big barrier that says ‘closed’.
“This gentleman appeared to be climbing over our gate with his son, so I poked my head out of the window of my bakery kitchen, where I was preparing something for my TV series, and said politely ‘sorry sir, we’re closed’.
“He climbed over anyway, so I went out and said ‘sorry, I don’t think you heard me correctly, we’re not open to the public at the moment’.
“At this point he lost his temper and started shouting abuse, telling me how disrespectful he thought I was being and that he didn’t care if he was on private property or not.”
Mr Holt continued: “I tried reasoning with him and explaining that my family usually work on site and that we also took this time to spray potentially harmful chemicals on the weeds, so I was concerned about his young son.
“He began shouting even louder and squared up to me aggressively, cursing, all the while with his young pre-teen son in earshot.”
Mr Holt claims the man then accused him of being racist before shouting “serious insults” and swearing at him whilst “squaring up to him”.
He added: “He had his fists clenched, frothing at the mouth, and he was about a foot away. Not quite the two meters he should have been.
“There was nobody else around and he was considerably bigger than me, too. With this in mind, I thought I should back down and do what he said.
“I locked myself in my own kitchen, which felt slightly dehumanising, and witnessed him return to his car.
“He put his son in the back seat where another young child was already sitting. I thought it was over, but he then went back on the site by himself.
“I thought he might be motivated to do some damage, so at this point I called the police.
“His wife, who was in the car, saw me on the phone and went looking for him. As they drove off, the emergency call handler asked for the number plate and the direction he was heading.
“I told them not to prioritise the incident despite his threat of returning.”
Mr Holt, who previously worked as head pastry chef at Marcus Wareing’s 2 Michelin star The Gilbert Scott in London and Anglesey’s own Michelin starred Sosban and the Old Butchers, said that he will not let the alleged altercation “put him off” and said he will welcome back tourists with open arms when he can.
He said: “Some of the best people I met last year were tourists. I love visitors and I am completely dedicated to Anglesey tourism.
“This is a one in a million kind of scenario and it certainly has not put me off continuing in this industry.
“Most people respect my decision and some people have even offered donations to our business, which I have gracefully declined.
“After this incident I will look at our current policy and rethink it for the physical safety of my staff and family.”
Mirror Online has contacted North Wales Police for comment.