An upmarket slow food store set up by two former Asda bosses has entered a pre-pack administration deal, leaving unsecured creditors £333,000 out of pocket.
Natural Kitchen, which has branches in Marylebone High Street and the City of London, continued trading as a result of the December deal, resulting in no job losses.
Administrators Tenon Recovery said the pre-pack deal was the best outcome for creditors and employees. suppliers included Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage and The Well Hung meat Company.
Tenon spokesman Martin Austin declined to say how much the buyers had paid for the assets and said it was still investigating the cause of the collapse of the original business.
Founded by former Asda managers Keith Bird and Martin O’Connor in 2006, the plan was to recreate the feel of a farmers market, selling organic, wild and artisan food but indoors. As well as a wine cave, café and butchery counter, the stores also offer food-to-go, hampers, a full restaurant service, and cater for parties and corporate events.
According to documents filed at Companies House, the business owed creditors £935,568 in the 12 months to 31 August 2009. The company was also threatened with being struck off the register and dissolved in September due to late accounts.
According to Austin, there were a number of directors in common between the old and new companies, including John Cameron. The name of the new company has not yet been revealed.
Cameron has been involved in Natural Kitchen since its inception. His then colleagues at property company Chelsfield Partners, Harvinder Hungin and Elliot Bernerd, provided most of the £500,000 start-up capital. Hungin was also a director of Natural Kitchen Ltd but it is not known if he is involved in the new company.
Cameron could not be reached for comment. When The Grocer called the Marylebone branch a member of staff asked: “Are you owed money?” She added that all the directors were on holiday.