Former employer slams James Cochran: “He’s attracting attention to new venture”

Former employer and current owner of the James Cochran restaurant has hit out at the chef after he claimed they were trying to “sell off” his name.

In a statement to Catering Today, Rayuela, the company which owns the now rebranded James Cochran EC3 restaurant said the trademarking of the James Cochran brand was not a “recent, reactive decision”.

It added that he was aware of the trademarking in early 2018 and continued to work for the company until April. Rayuela added that he did not object to it until the day before he was due to appear on BBC’s Great British Menu on Monday 20 August.

Rayuela said it seemed “rather convenient” that it was now an issue in the run-up to Cochran’s new restaurant opening and said the claims made by the chef were “both inaccurate and defamatory”. It added that Cochran was “clearly attracting a lot of attention” ahead of the opening of his new restaurant 1251 in Islington on 28 August.

Following Cochran’s departure from the James Cochran EC3 restaurant it has been rebranded as 19 Bevis Marks. Despite the restaurant name change, the owners have since launched the website which sells recipe plans from £25. It said the website was “in preparation for some time” and added that the branding elements would be recognised by any customers who visited the its stand at the Taste of London event in June.

The chef accused his former employees of benefiting off his name after discovering the website in a tweet which read: “Anyone wanna buy me… my ex-employers are the lowest of low trying to sell off my name as recipes plans??!! Wtf?? Who is going to pay £25 a week just to add my name in front of the recipe?? I will give you the recipes for free if your that low!!”

The restaurant owners said Cochran’s appearance on the Great British Menu could not be commercially exploited and didn’t bring any benefit as the broadcast of the series which was filmed last year was delayed a number of times.

It added that it offered Cochran a “range of ways” in which he might continue as executive chef along with “an offer of royalties for any profits from the brand’s intended licensed quality comfort food brand”.

Rayuela said: “To date Mr James Cochran’s only offer to acquire the trademark was for a sum less than it cost to complete trademarking. This is perhaps ironic given that part of Mr Cochran’s histrionic rhetoric in the public domain focuses on baseless accusations that the owners are reaping the financial benefits of this valuable trademark.

“The owners of the trademark remain entirely open to reasonable offers from James that allow them to recoup their investment in the brand.”

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