A high-profile Auckland restaurant is set to close its doors after eleven years amidst a stoush between its owner and the head chef.
This week it was revealed Freeman's Bay establishment Clooney will close its doors in January after owner Tony Stewart said it was time to move on.
A subsequent Fairfax article reported the closure comes amidst brewing tensions between head chef Jacob Kear, 35, and owner Tony Stewart, 48, that reached breaking point on Friday last week.
It reported the pair argued in the kitchen at around 5:30pm that evening. The argument ended with Stewart requesting an apology and Kear completing what would be his last dinner service.
The article described how despite positive reviews, since Kear came onboard, business was slow during winter.
Clooney's owner had hoped Kear's reputation would bring in new customers - even through the down period - but he denied the restaurant was in serious debt.
He told the media outlet his relationship with the head chef had turned "septic" but wouldn't go into specifics beyond saying he felt Kear was using Clooney's brand to leverage his own profile.
"He's after Instagram followers. He's after exposure for himself."
Kear told Fairfax the accusations were unfounded and said his vision was to get Clooney among the world's top 50 - 100 restaurants.
The former Clooney chef believed money was the heart of the restaurant's problems and wishes Stewart had been more upfront about the finances.
"I would not have moved my whole family here. If I knew that Clooney was slow, I would not have moved my family here."
Kear took the job as Clooney's head chef in January. A public Instagram post reflected his hopes that Clooney would take him one step closer to his dream of being among the top chefs globally.
"I'm super excited to announce that I'll be taking over as Chef of one of New Zealand's Iconic restaurants.
"I have a dream and that dream is to be somewhere on the World's Top 100 list, and once again achieve the ranks of three hats."
However, his latest Instagram post showed while Kear's dream was not over - his journey with Clooney was.
"I wanted to let you ALL [sic] know that I have decided to part ways with Tony and the team at CLOONEY."
Despite how it has ended Kear has declined to say anything negative about his former boss.
He told Fairfax: "It hurts so much, but I'm not going to say anything negative about Tony."
In his latest instagram post Kear said he was really proud of everything he had achieved at the restaurant in the ten months he was there.
"But we ultimately all wanted different things ... a case of "creative differences" if you will. I wish Tony well, Clooney will close its doors on January 28th, so again, thanks everyone for their love and support. I'll be back with news of my next adventure."