Pastry chef sues former-employer for $370k over RS...

Pastry chef sues former-employer for $370k over RSI

Bagging sweets is one of the tasks a pastry chef suing her former-employer for £200k ($370 AUD) in damages says contributed to her repetitive strain injury (RSI).

Sharon Anderson, 30, worked at Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, in Berkshire, England, and later, Melbourne, between 2014 and 2015, and claims she is now plagued by constant wrist pain.

Her lawyers told a high court judge that the “fast, arduous and repetitive” tasks meant she was effectively working on a factory floor as she made the celebrity chef’s concoctions.

Court documents state her work included putting 400 sweets a day into small bags using tweezers, racing against time to make chocolate playing cards (pictured) before the chocolate set too hard, and administering hundreds of tiny fingertip pinches to mushroom logs.

“She was essentially on what was effectively a production line,” her barrister, Joel Kendall, said.

The Duck Fat Group has denied liability for the injury, claiming the work undertaken was routine for a pastry chef in a “fine dining restaurant” and that Ms Anderson was given sufficient breaks—a claim refuted by the plaintiff’s counsel.

After a brief hearing the dispute was adjourned, with the judge directing a case management conference for May 2022 ahead of a trial of her compensation claim.

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