London, June 5 : Fashionable chef Tom Aikens' cordon bleu fish and chip shop has caused a bit of a stink among his Chelsea neighbours.
'Tom's Place' has been targeted by local residents who have complained to the local council about unpleasant odours, which, according to them, is making it difficult to survive in the locality.
In fact, they said that it is impossible for them to open their windows without their house being flooded with the smell of stale cooking fat, which even gets permeated into the curtains, soft furnishings and bed linen.
The 38-year-old chef is the youngest British chef to be awarded two Michelin stars, and he maintains that he has done everything that is required to avoid this problem. He said that he has even fitted deodoriser to vents at the newly-opened eatery.
However, the flood of complaints against him has led the local environmental health officers from residents in Cale Street, Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council to launch legal proceedings against the restaurant.
"The smell of old cooking fat is everywhere. It is in the communal hall. My curtains smell of it, even my bed linen. The value of our flats has been halved and everyone is furious. There should be a state-of-the-art filtration plant. Instead, there is a huge fan the size of two aircraft engines three inches from my terrace," The Telegraph quoted Laura Benjamin, a designer who lives in an apartment block next door to Tom's Place, as saying.
Sir Michael Jenkins, the former British ambassador to the Netherlands, said: "He opens from early in the morning until 11 at night, including Sundays, and we're always having to complain to the local environmental health officers."
On the other hand, Aikens claims that his fish and chip shop cooks only sustainable seafood, including gurnard and megrim sole, and works hard to fulfil the highest standards of environmental responsibility. He insisted that they only take seafood from only 10 fishermen, whose biographies appear on the restaurant's website.
While he claimed to have tried changing the type of fat used for frying, still, he said that it was not possible for him to compromise on the taste and the cooking process completely, for the customers' sake.
"It's very difficult to please everyone. I want my neighbours to be happy. The deodoriser is perfectly acceptable, tested and approved or we wouldn't be allowed to use it," he said.
A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council said: "The council has made it clear to Tom's Place that the existing situation is not acceptable and has instituted legal proceedings in the absence of works being carried out."