Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
A famous chef hit the headlines recently after banning plant-based customers from his restaurant, following a bad review.
But the chef, John Mountain, seemingly couldn’t hack the consequences of his actions, as he tearfully discussed the impact the decision had on his restaurant, Fyre, in Perth, Australia.
Speaking on Aussie talk show, A Current Affair, the chef said that vegan protestors had stormed his restaurant twice since the decision was made.
“I lost my partner because of this; I lost a relationship,” he said on the show. “I thought I was going to marry this woman and she just couldn’t handle the amount of attention.
The protests have seen activists crash his restaurant and hold up signs about animal cruelty as punters are eating.
They also stood outside the eatery playing the sound of a pig squealing in distress through a megaphone. Yikes.
The chef added that despite the protests causing a hell of a lot of disruption to his restaurant (and his life), he was adamant that he wasn’t going to let them win.
In fact, he said that he was even considering launching a steak restaurant, to “p*ss them off.”
Speaking to 9 News, the chef was the first to admit that the vegan protestors were probably fighting a worthy cause, however he added that he was “the wrong person to fight it with.”
Referring to the Facebook post he originally wrote, banning vegans, he said: “Do I think I crossed a line? Absolutely, probably, yes.
“But again, I will stand by my convictions – I’m protecting my premises, I’m protecting my business, and I’m protecting my staff and customers.”
The chef’s original post said: “Sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre for mental health reasons. We thank you for your understanding. xx”
The restaurant, situated in Connolly in northern Perth, took the decision on the ban after someone complained about the food on offer to her, as a vegan.
“A young girl reached out to me and said she was coming to the restaurant… and asked if there were vegan options,” the chef – who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White – explained.
“It was my only shortfall… I said I would accommodate her, I said we had gnocchi, vegetables… and that was that.”
The chef then forgot about the plant-based dish he had offered the punter due to a busy service catering a private party.
His sous chef proceeded to reprimand him for “not telling them about the vegan customer,” and the next day, the vegan woman complained about the food she’d been offered.
“My only option was the vegetable dish… it was okay but not that filling… and I was shocked to see it was $32 (£17.14),”she wrote in her complaint sent via Facebook message, according to PerthNow.
“I think it’s incredibly important nowadays that restaurants can accommodate everyone and to not be able to have actual plant-based meals shows your shortcomings as a chef,” the woman said.
She added that she wanted to see “improvements” to the menu, and demanded they “get with the times” if they wanted to succeed.
And… well, it seems the restaurant’s owner didn’t take the complaint too well (in case you hadn’t already gathered).
Whether he wants to admit it or not, it’s clear to see the chef probably bit off more than he could chew with this one.