British Michelin-starred chef allegedly assaulted in Cebu bar

December 28, 2022 - 2:53 PM
Photo of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia with Jason Atherton following the altercation he and his family encountered at a bar in Cebu City on December 23, 2022 (Facebook/Gwendolyn Garcia)

An acclaimed chef and restaurateur figured in a scuffle at a bar in Cebu.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia posted about this incident on Facebook on Wednesday, December 28.

Garcia also accompanied her post with a photo of the restaurateur Jason Atherton after the altercation.

“With the internationally acclaimed English Chef and restaurateur, JASON ATHERTON, awarded a MICHELIN STAR for his flagship restaurant, POLLEN STREET SOCIAL within just 6 months from opening in April 2011,” Garcia said.

In the post, Garcia said this photo was taken after she was made aware of the terrible experience Atherton and his family had at a bar in Cebu City on December 23.

According to the report she received, Atherton was with his wife Irha, a Cebuana, and their daughter in the establishment that night.

Their night took a terrible turn after Atherton allegedly went up to a group of men who were supposedly harassing his daughter.

“These guys were HARASSING his DAUGHTER, while she was waiting in line for the restroom. JASON asked them to APOLOGIZE, as any FATHER who LOVES his DAUGHTER would,” Garcia said.

“Instead, they all ganged up on him, including F BAR’S PEOPLE. (See the BRUISES?),” she added, referring to the marks on Atherton’s face in the photo.

The provincial governor also stated that the staff of the bar, including the bouncers, aggravated the fight instead of helping the customer.

“Worse, F BAR’S BOUNCERS held him down so JASON couldn’t fight back. The LADY MANAGER joined in the MELEE, even providing a bottle to beat him further, the whole time CONDEMNING him and ALL FOREIGNERS as TROUBLEMAKERS,” Garcia narrated.

This incident prompted the official to apologize to Atherton herself.

“I’m so SORRY for what HAPPENED to you, JASON. I HOPE this will NOT CHANGE your FONDNESS for CEBU. Nor KEEP you from COMING BACK to CEBU,” she supposedly told him.

Atherton supposedly replied to her: “Oh NO! It could have HAPPENED anywhere in the WORLD. In LONDON, or any OTHER PLACE.”

Garcia then condemned the staff of the establishment over the incident.

She, however, did not specify the legal actions that will be done on the bar.

“This gracious, gifted man certainly did not deserve the shameful treatment he got, right here, in Cebu. Shame on those who harassed Jason’s daughter and then beat him up! Shame on the bouncers and lady manager of F Cafe and Bar! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” Garcia said.

As of writing, neither the bar’s establishment nor Atherton has issued a statement on the matter.

Atherton and Irha own and manage their restaurant The Pig & Palm at the Cebu Business Park in Cebu City, Cebu.

His 16th dining concept, The Pig & Palm is part of his restaurant group The Social Company.

He earned his Michelin star for his Pollen Street Social, a modern European restaurant he opened in 2011.