Food / May 22, 2023

Pastry Chef Shares Account of Alleged Sexual Assault by Former Colleagues

Food / May 22, 2023

Pastry Chef Shares Account of Alleged Sexual Assault by Former Colleagues

Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: Instagram

Tara Gartlan speaks out against alleged assault and criticizes the response from Gardaí, British Police and the hospitality industry.

In a revelation on social media, well-known pastry chef Tara Gartlan came forward with her account of an alleged traumatic sexual assault that took place in January 2022.

She alleged, “I’m sharing a little bit about my being sexually assaulted in January 2022 … and just purely out of the frustration of the ineptitude and ineffectiveness of the Irish Guards and the English Police in the, in my case, and it’s not something I’ve come on the internet, thinking of lightly.”

Gartlan detailed the alleged assault and expressed her frustration with the Irish Gardaí and English Police for what she perceives as a lack of action in pursuing justice. Furthermore, Gartlan criticised some of her former colleagues for their alleged indifference and failure to intervene during the incident.

Sharing her story on Instagram, Gartlan broke her usual pattern of lighthearted posts to address a deeply personal and distressing experience. In the emotional post, Gartlan named two individuals involved in the alleged assault. Gartlan was working at renowned culinary event ‘Obsession’ in The Northcote Hotel as part of the Chapter One team and revealed that the alleged incident occurred after the event. The Northcote Obsession Food Festival is a multi-day food festival and event which takes place in Blackburn, Lancashire. At this festival, many Michelin star chefs and their teams are often invited to cook.

Neither chef accused of assaulting Tara is currently employed by Chapter One. We have reached out to Chapter One directly and their PR company for comment. At the time of publication, they had not responded to either request for comment.

Recalling the alleged assault, Gartlan described feeling helpless as one chef restricted her breathing and the other pinned her to a chair. Despite her cries for help, Gartlan claimed that her colleagues, with whom she had spent countless hours working side by side, did not come to her aid. The chocolate entrepreneur expressed her disbelief and disappointment at the lack of assistance she received from those she considered her professional family.

The pastry chef emphasised the impact this incident had on her personal and professional life, leading to the loss of relationships within the hospitality industry. Gartlan expressed her desire for the narrative to shift from focusing solely on her experience to holding the alleged perpetrators accountable for their actions.

The pastry chef noted that there are further details about the assault she chose not to disclose publicly due to their personal nature and potential professional repercussions. Gartlan expressed gratitude for the support she has received from friends like Jess Murphy and Grainne O’Keeffe and others who have stood by her throughout this challenging ordeal.

Gartlan’s courageous decision to share her experience sheds light on the pervasive issue of sexual assault within the culinary industry. Her call for justice and a shift in public perception serves as a stark reminder that no individual should face indifference or ostracization after surviving a traumatic event.

Many people in hospitality have publicly come out in support of Tara, including Jess Murphy of Kai, Grainne O’Keefe of Mae, Holly Dalton of Conbini Condiments and many more.

CHAR will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they develop.