Bankruptcy action against chef Paul Rankin dismissed


BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS against celebrity chef Paul Rankin have been dismissed at the High Court in Belfast.

A petition brought against the Michelin-star-winning restaurateur and his business partner wife Jeanne was dropped after an agreement was reached with creditors.

Papers had been served on the couple, who now focus on the flagship Cayenne restaurant in Belfast city centre after a recent sell-off of most of the Rankin Group to cover debts, over a debt owed to supplier Arnotts Fruit Ltd.

Following a private hearing it was confirmed that the action has been dismissed. The resolution was reached because the couple have entered into an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) with their creditors.

Under the terms of the IVA, agreed last month, those owed money will receive a return of 70p in the pound.

The arrangement – which is used to stop companies going out of business and allow all sides to reach a deal – is being funded through Mr Rankin’s personal earnings.

However, had an earlier attempt to recover cash owed been successful, Cayenne would have been forced to close, with staff being laid off and suppliers facing little prospect of getting their cash.

Arnotts Fruit Ltd, with whom the Rankins have ceased trading, is believed to be the only supplier to have petitioned the couple for bankruptcy.

According to sources it was owed £9,700, and the IVA means it will receive just under £6,800.

The chef, who once owned a string of restaurants and cafes, has been credited with rejuvenating the culinary scene in Northern Ireland.

He has written several cookery books and is numbered among a group of chefs recognisable from regular television appearances.

His business empire, which employed hundreds of people, was hit by financial difficulties in recent times.

Mr Rankin has since sold off his Roscoff Brasserie and the Rankin cafe chain in order to save jobs.

He has returned to the kitchen at Cayenne and is also involved in product endorsement and media work.

After the petition was dismissed he said: “I am grateful, to my suppliers and customers in supporting my business and I am committed to the arrangements I have entered into to maximise returns to creditors.”