Coronavirus: Michelin star chef warned of 'child labour' after family help with free meals for NHS

May 27, 2020

A Michelin-starred chef whose entire family have spent lockdown making thousands of free meals for NHS workers has been sent a warning letter about child labour by his local council.

Three-year-old Margot Pern posed for pictures with her six smiling brothers and sisters in the kitchen of dad Andrew Pern's award-winning Star Inn restaurant in Harome, North Yorkshire.

But a child employment officer from North Yorkshire County Council was less than impressed.

They sent Mr Pern a letter saying: "It has been brought to my attention that there were children helping out in your commercial kitchen."

Margot and the rest of the Pern family - Daisy Tilly, 21, Louis, 19, William and Olive, both 14, and seven-year-old Fred - have helped to make around 2,500 free meals.

They have been delivered to workers at hospitals in York and Teesside.

Mr Pern said he saw the funny side of the letter, which came with a leaflet outlining the rules on child labour.

But he insisted more youngsters should be encouraged to take up cooking.

"Let's get kids in the kitchen, and get them cooking food," he said.

"To see my children working hard, motivated and persistently to provide for the NHS is heartwarming, and fills me with pride."

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North Yorkshire County Council has since apologised to the Pern family for the letter.

It admitted the warning "was not appropriate in the circumstances".

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