New estimates claim chefs could have been underpaid $30,000 a year at Dinner by Heston

Heston Blumenthal. Photography: Alisa Connan

An investigation by the Age and Sydney Morning Herald has revealed new estimates provided by a lawyer for the Hospo Voice union that individual chefs at Dinner by Heston in Melbourne could have been underpaid by up to $30,000 a year.

Last week it was revealed that British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's Melbourne fine diner was involved in a major underpayment scandal, with staff claiming they had been working unpaid overtime.

Uncovered rosters that showed staff had worked up to 25 hours every week of unpaid overtime. If these hours are factored into wages, this would mean mid-level chefs were earning between $15 and $17 an hour, which is well under the legal award rates.

The union's estimates were based on the assumption that chefs worked 20 hours of unpaid overtime per week, although some chefs claimed to have work up to 40 hours of unpaid overtime.

The Age and SMH allege that is these estimates are correct, Dinner by Heston could stand to owe chefs up to $1 million in backpay a year.

The new information has now been handed to the Fair Work Ombudsman who will conduct its own investigation.

Blumenthal, the face of the restaurant, has a huge international following, especially in Australia thanks to his multiple appearances on MasterChef Australia. Blumenthal is also behind acclaimed restaurant outside of London, The Fat Duck.