The Death of Nathan Laity


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001

Yesterday brought similarly sad news of an unnecessary death in the restaurant world with the funeral of 23-year-old Nathan Laity at Penryn Methodist Chapel in Cornwall.

Readers of Word of Mouth may not have heard of Nathan or about his death. I certainly hadn't until it was brought to my attention by Lennie Nash, author of the blog Chef's Sandwich. But many may have enjoyed the food that came out of the kitchens of the Tate Modern restaurant where he had worked as the senior sous chef since 2008.

Nathan died in his sleep, on Mother's Day, from blood poisoning caused by an untreated case of tonsillitis. According to coverage in the local Cornish paper and today's Daily Mail his distraught family blame his death on the long hours he worked and his own understandable but stubborn ambition to succeed in a profession notorious for a long hours culture.

In the months before Mother's Day the obviously talented young chef had, it is claimed, worked 14 gruelling hours a day for 27 days without a break. This adds up to an astonishing working week of 98 hours, which according to his family left him exhausted and his immune system unable to combat an illness that most people would treat as little more than an inconvenience.
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