Copper & Ink: Masterchef finalist forced to close popular Blackheath restaurant amid soaring costs

A Masterchef finalist said he is "absolutely devastated" to announce the immediate closure of his south-east London restaurant following financial difficulties.

Tony Rodd and his partner Becky said they have been forced to close popular Blackheath restaurant Copper & Ink after a string of challenges including soaring energy bills, rising supplier costs, and decreased footfall amid the cost of living crisis.

In a post on X on Tuesday night, the couple wrote: "It is with heavy hearts that we announce the immediate closure of Copper & Ink.

"We have agonised over making this decision and spent much of the Christmas break trying desperately to find a way to save the restaurant, but to no avail.

"The decision to close is borne out of the continued financial difficulties caused by Covid, increased energy costs, the cost of living crisis and price increases from all our suppliers that we have had to bear the brunt of for the last three years.

"All of which we know you have felt too, which has resulted in less guests coming through our doors, making running a business untenable.

"We have had a wonderful five years, and we want to thank each of every one of you from the bottom of our hearts for the warmth, love & support you have bestowed upon us during this time."

Speaking to the Sun last year, Mr Rodd said the restaurant's monthly energy bill had risen almost threefold, from £1,700 to £6,400.

Mr Rodd rose to prominence as a finalist on the 2015 series of hit BBC cookery competition Masterchef.

Copper & Ink, which opened five years ago, is described as "a modern British restaurant with influences from classic French and Scandinavian cuisine", which aimed to "bridge the gap between a traditional, stuffy high-end restaurant and a local, casual dining spot".

News of its closure was met with an outpouring of grief from social media users.

Among them was Michel Roux Jr, chef patron at two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, who wrote: "So sorry to hear this , really wanted to dine with you guys this year. stay strong and believe in yourselves."

Customer Ellie Giles wrote: "I’m gutted! I loved the food! Hope you can find another way of getting your talents out there."

"Really really sad news," wrote X user Nat Sloane. "A very sad day for Blackheath."

Tony and Becky thanked the public and hospitality industry for "the love and kindness" shown, while warning many other restaurants are suffering similarly.

In a tearful video posted to X, Becky said: "So many places closing their doors, and it's just devastating for the hospitality industry right now."

Tony and Becky Rodd (Instagram / @tony_rodd)
Tony and Becky Rodd (Instagram / @tony_rodd)

"We're going to be seeing more and more of this," added Tony. "Covid, Brexit, cost of living crisis, energy bills, you name it. And every independent restaurant is facing these along with other things.

"We are absolutely devastated - heartbroken."

Copper & Ink's website says gift vouchers purchased in 2023 will not be refunded.

"Unfortunately, as we are closing with immediate effect, these gift vouchers cannot be redeemed or refunded," it says.

"We had every intention of re-opening after our Christmas break to allow our guests to utilise these, however, after much work to save the restaurant, we have had to make the decision to close."