Celebrity chef Annabel Karmel named in sexual harassment claim

Children's cookery guru Annabel Karmel

Children's cookery guru Annabel Karmel

Claims that celebrity chef Annabel Karmel fired an employee for rejecting her sexual advances have been withdrawn, hours after a judge said she could be named at a hearing.

Until now, the identity of a “well-known media personality” accused of sexual harassment had been kept hidden.

But after a four-day employment tribunal hearing, Judge James Tayler ruled that Ms Karmel should be identified, saying it was “patronising to the British public to assume that they are incapable of understanding that an allegation is just that until it has been proved”.

The lawsuit had been filed against Ms Karmel, 57 - a household name on children’s nutrition - by her former sales director, Mark Salter.

Mr Salter, 39, accused his former boss of dismissing him last July, four months into employment, after he repeatedly rejected her advances. He claimed she only invited him on two work trips as her “personal chaperone” and asked him to accompany her to a Playboy club.

He also said Ms Karmel wore provocative clothing to work and had a policy of only hiring “good-looking men”.

Until yesterday, Ms Karmel’s legal team had successfully kept her identity secret, arguing that the allegations would be “irreparably damaging” to her wholesome image.

But hours after the judge decided to expose her identity, Ms Karmel revealed the case had been settled out of court.

She said in a statement: “Mark Salter has today withdrawn his employment tribunal claim and unreservedly retracted the allegations against me.

“I have defended this claim throughout and am glad this has now been resolved. It has been agreed that neither party will make any further comment on this matter.”

Ms Karmel, who was awarded an MBE in 2006, has published 37 books on child nutrition. She also presents the popular TV shows Mummy That’s Yummy and Annabel’s Kitchen.

Last updated: 1:22pm, May 15 2014