Oak Room Blames Unpaid Bills on Former Chef

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

The Oak Room is blaming several unpaid bills on former chef Joël Antunes, who was forced out in February. One purveyor, France-based Faye Gastronomie, has been stiffed on a bill of over $35,000, according to an e-mail obtained by Grub Street. The screwup is Antunes’s because the chef made “unauthorized purchases,” Oak Room publicist Willie Norkin tells us. But Faye Gastronomie claims it has a long history of good relations with Antunes. “We worked with Joël Antunes since [sic] seven years without any failure” to pay on time, the company said in an e-mail. (Antunes is out of the country and unavailable for comment.) Local vendors also say the Oak Room owes them thousands, but none agreed to go on the record for fear of never collecting. “With the way they’re behaving, we have to expect the worst,” said one. Another claims to be owed $5,000 and is disgusted with the Oak Room’s “blatant lies that ‘checks are going out tomorrow.’” The Oak Room’s rep says it wasn’t until months after Antunes left that his unpaid purchases from Faye were noticed. “The Oak Room pays its bills,” she asserts.