AN AWARD-WINNING chef has decided to “temporarily suspend” trading in all his restaurants, including The Bonnie Badger.

Tom Kitchin, who is also behind The Kitchin and The Scran and Scallie, took “the difficult decision” on Wednesday.

An announcement on social media said the move was made with “heavy hearts” and was down “to the speed of the COVID-19 developments”.

The chef said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we are devastated that it has come to this situation.

“The safety of our amazing guests, our loyal suppliers and our hard-working team remain our priority.

“All we can do at this stage is to try to remain focused and it is with regret that we feel the government has given us no other choice but to close our establishments.”

The Bonnie Badger, on Gullane’s Main Street, opened in December 2018.

The former Golf Inn was awarded an AA 5 Gold Star for Restaurant with Rooms rating 12 months ago.

The business underwent a full refurbishment ahead of opening and features 14 bedrooms, a bar, a 60-cover dining room and an outdoor garden.

The statement, released by Michaela and Tom Kitchin and the directors of the Kitchin Group, continues: “We have always invested heavily in the personal growth and development for each individual employee in our team and we often receive lovely feedback from guests on what a fantastic team we have.

“We couldn’t agree more and we are heartbroken at the thought of anyone leaving us, but we see no other option at this stage.

“Regrettably we will have to make redundancies within the company, but as restaurateurs it is our duty of care to continue to look after everyone as much as we possibly can.

“Needless to say, we are faced with very challenging times throughout the hospitality industry for the foreseeable future.

“We are currently seeking answers to many uncertainties but we’re trying to remain positive and grounded.

“Once this pandemic passes and normal trade resumes across the UK, we will do everything in our power to rebuild our venues and continue to create career opportunities within our business.

“Thank you to everyone who has shown loyalty and support to us in various ways throughout this difficult time of our lives.

“We’re in this together.

“We will remain dedicated to our industry and the many hard-working people around us.

“We will see you soon. Look after each other and stay safe.”