A MICHELIN-starred chef has been sent a letter about child employment by a council officer - after he was pictured making meals with his children for frontline NHS staff.

Chef Andrew Pern, who runs The Star Inn the City and Mr P's Curious Tavern in York, was sent the letter by an officer at North Yorkshire County Council after he appeared on BBC Look North with his family.

The council has apologised for the blunder.

The letter said: “It has been brought to my attention that following a recent news interview with BBC Look North it appeared that there were children helping out in your commercial kitchen at The Star Inn, Harome.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to offer you some guidance relating to child employment and have enclosed an information leaflet for your perusal.”

Tweeting a picture of the letter he received, he said two of his children aged 21 and 15 were helping him to cook the meals at his home - and called for "common sense".

A councillor replied to the tweet, apologising for the letter.

Cllr Joe Plant praised the family for their work to support NHS staff and said on Twitter: "Having contacted NYCC yesterday, I am now aware someone spoke to Mrs Pern yesterday afternoon to apologise.

"You will also receive a letter of an apology.

"It has been a misjudgment and I am sorry this happened to you when team Andrew are doing an amazing job."

Mr Pern and his family have been cooking free meals for NHS staff at York Hospital.

He said last month that they hope to boost health workers' morale and praised the "amazing" work they are doing.

York Press:

Mr Pern also runs The Star Inn at Harome and The Star Inn The Harbour in Whitby.

Jane le Sage, assistant director for inclusion with children and young people’s services, said: “We would like to apologise for the letter sent to Andrew Pern regarding child employment, which was not appropriate in the circumstances.

“We have a statutory duty to make sure employers are aware of the laws in place to protect children and young people in the workplace – and the council officer involved in this case was doing her job.

“We acknowledge that a letter was not an appropriate response in this case and we have been in contact with the Pern family to offer our apologies.”