News

Anger as City law’s only Michelin-starred chef ‘forced out’ of Watson Farley & Williams

By on

Exclusive: The famous Philippe Roth exits after 14 years at firm

Lawyers at Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) are struggling to adjust to an underwhelming new culinary regime after its legendary French chef Philippe Roth quit the firm following a decision to outsource the catering.

There is real anger within the shipping and corporate law outfit, whose insiders tell Legal Cheek that “cost savings resulted in our excellent French chef being ignominiously all but forced out.”

Roth, who trained at the two-Michelin star restaurant Le Tastevin in France, was a highly popular figure at WFW where he ran the catering department since 2002. Last the year the firm scored an A* for its canteen in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, with Roth and his team winning rave reviews for their cooking.

But a decision in the past months by WFW’s management to change its catering set up and bring in a new third-party company has seen Roth exit and the food apparently take a serious turn for the worse. Another WFW source tells us:

Since the decision was taken … the quality has deteriorated significantly; gone are the days of freshly cooked steaks, tuna steak and battered fish all made to order.

A further anonymous solicitor at the firm states that in comparison to before:

We now have some of the worst food imaginable. Utterly, utterly terrible.

What is perceived as a cost-cutting measure has taken place during a period in which WFW has achieved some of its best ever financial results. Over the summer the firm revealed that it had increased revenue by more than 20% to nearly £160 million, while profit per equity partner has soared 27% to reach £608,000. WFW takes on 18 trainees a year and pays them £70,000 when they qualify as solicitors.

A spokesperson for WFW told Legal Cheek:

Philippe chose to leave following the decision to outsource our London catering services. A leaving party was arranged for him, which was extremely well attended, and we wish him all the best in his future ventures.

Roth is already running his own catering company, which by all accounts is doing very well. He declined to comment when contacted for this article.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub.