10,000% here for the inglorious downfall of the “chefs as instant rockstars” phenomena, but schadenfreude aside this is pretty serious if true.

Pasty king and man who popularised the word “macaron” in Australian food culture and thus cannot ever be forgiven Adriano Zumbo is the latest high-profile chef in Australia to be accused of severely underpaying staff.

A report on ‘A Current Affair‘ last night levelled the accusations that Zumbo’s company failed to pay superannuation to employees, paid money into accounts that do not exist, and failed to pay employees overtime.

Former and current employees were interviewed by the program, all of whom stated that they had either been underpaid, or had their super paid into a clearly fake account.

One employee asserted that their super, hosted by HostPlus, had been paid into an account with the policy number ‘123456789.’

The group also stated that Zumbo’s company, which employees over 200 people in both Melbourne and Sydney, told employees that they would no longer be paying overtime and would instead simply pay employees the normal rate for any extra time worked.

Zumbo, in response, issued a statement to ACA insisting that “a new system” of payments had been implemented, and following an investigation “a number of discrepancies” had been identified.

“In January 2017 a new overtime system was implemented by my business. As a result, a number of discrepancies were identified in the calculation, approval and payment of overtime to a limited number of staff.”

“I have personally taken steps to rectify all back pay issues of which I am currently aware. My expectation and intention is that all outstanding superannuation and the majority of outstanding overtime will be paid as of close of business on 2 May 2017, with the remaining payments to be made over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours.”

“I confirm that an audit of the payroll system of the business has been commenced and is ongoing. I instigated that audit having learnt about the discrepancies referred to above, in order to identify whether there have been any other issues in the payment of my staff, whose hard work I value enormously. In the event that audit identifies any other discrepancies in payments to staff, those matters will be remedied as soon as possible.”

“It saddens me to learn that some of my current and former staff did not share their apparent concerns relating to their working conditions with me or our HR department. It seems those staff shared these concerns for the first time with ACA. Had we been aware of these concerns, our HR team and I would have been available to assist those staff members in the satisfactory resolution of their concerns.”

The staff in question, for what it’s worth, claim to have immediately raised concerns about the payment process with management immediately after it was announced to employees, with one claiming their immediate reaction was to assert it was “illegal.”

Zumbo is the latest celebrity chef to be levelled with accusations of underpaying staff, following on from George Calombaris‘ $2million staff payments scandal.

ACA claims that a complaint concerning the Zumbo allegations has been made to Fair Work Australia.

Source: Herald Sun.

Photo: Kerry Marshall/Getty.