Former Unicorn head chef seeks €33,000 awarded over losing job

Lorcan Cribbin found out he had been replaced while restaurant underwent refurbishment

Lorcan Cribbin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Lorcan Cribbin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times


A former head chef in a popular Dublin Italian restaurant found out he had been replaced while the establishment underwent refurbishment, the Circuit Civil Court has heard.

Barrister Colm Hennessy told the court Lorcan Cribbin was dismissed from his executive position at The Unicorn restaurant on Merrion Court in April 2014.

The court heard Mr Cribbin was last January awarded €33,000 compensation by the Employment Appeals Tribunal against his former employer, Petrolo Limited, which trades as the Unicorn, for unfair dismissal, based on Mr Cribbin’s uncontested evidence.

Mr Hennessy told the court on Friday that Petrolo Ltd had not appeared at the hearing last January, and had not replied to correspondence sent by Mr Cribbin’s solicitor, Midland Legal Solicitors.

Counsel said Petrolo Ltd, which is still in existence, had neither appealed nor complied with the decision of the tribunal and Mr Cribbin, of St Patrick’s Villas, Ringsend, Dublin, was now looking for an enforcement of that decision.

The tribunal had heard that Mr Cribbin, a former Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland, has worked for Petrolo Ltd for a number of years in different restaurants.

He worked at the Bang Café, owned by the same company, until the restaurant was liquidated in 2011. He started working at the Unicorn in February 2011.

The tribunal had heard Mr Cribbin was informed in April 2014 that the Unicorn restaurant had a new investor and would be closing for refurbishment for almost two weeks.

He claimed that when he came back to work early to do the food ordering and preparation, he discovered that new chefs had been employed in every position, including head chef, and food preparation had already started.

Mr Cribbin had told the tribunal he had then been offered “dramatically” lower salary in order to retain his job. He claimed that when he suggested a 10 per cent reduction to his €700 weekly salary, he was told “No, that’s you finished.” He then sued Petrolo Ltd for unfair dismissal.

The tribunal had heard Mr Cribbin has since found a new job.

Judge Petria McDonnell, granting Mr Cribbin orders enforcing the decision of the tribunal, said she was satisfied that Petrolo Ltd, which did not appear in court, had been served properly.

The Unicorn, established in 1938, has for many years been extremely popular with politicians, property developers and business people.