Christchurch hospitality kingpin Tony Astle facing assault charge

Businessman Tony Astle entered no plea in the Christchurch District Court to charges of assault and threatening to kill.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Businessman Tony Astle entered no plea in the Christchurch District Court to charges of assault and threatening to kill.

A Christchurch hospitality magnate, who owns several top bars and restaurants, allegedly threatened to kill a woman and assaulted her.

Tony Wayne Astle, 48, appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Friday in relation to the incident, which police say unfolded on March 10.

Astle entered no plea to charges of assault and threatening to kill.

He was remanded on bail and scheduled to reappear in court again on April 7. As part of his bail conditions, he is not allowed to drink alcohol.

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Astle's company Stealth Hospitality Group is one of the Christchurch's biggest hospitality companies. It owns four businesses in Victoria St – restaurants King of Snake, Chinwag Eathai and Mexicanos, and cocktail bar The Dirty Land. Astle's company is also part of The Terrace hospitality project and the Christchurch Art Gallery restaurant.

He lives in Christchurch and has a wife, Bianca, and three children.

Astle left school to work as a chef at 15. He then started an apprenticeship in Perth, before returning to Christchurch to finish his training at polytechnic. 

At 21, Astle was named the South Island Chef of the Year, while working at the Pegasus Arms. He then went to London, while there he made the finals of the Roux Scholarship in 1992 and 1993 and was also a Young British Chef of the Year finalist.

His first venture into running his own business was a Christchurch nightclub called The Licker Lounge. Following that, he launched The Cocoa Club in Dallington, serving traditional French cuisine. Next up was a lounge bar called Eye Spy in Lichfield St.

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From there, Astle spent some time in the United States, working as a personal chef for a private client. In 2003, he came back and opened south-east Asian-influenced Indochine.

Not long after launching Indochine, he opened Bar D'O, a European-style venue specialising in vodka infusions. By 2007, he had branched out into modern Thai-style dining with his first Chinwag Eathai in High St.

Two years after that was his experiment in Spanish cuisine, Estudio-S in Victoria St, which he subsequently closed in favour of his second Chinwag restaurant.

Astle could not be reached for comment on Monday.

 - Stuff

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