For a professional chef, Rule No. 1 is: ‘Don’t be mean to your customers.’ Rule No. 2 is: ‘If you do decide to surreptitiously ruin a customer’s meal, don’t brag about it on social media!’
Talk about dumb … actually, double dumb — if there’s such a phrase.
This is a tale, to quote the Bard, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and unfortunately signifying that some people are seemingly incapable of engaging that internal switch called “common sense.”
As reported by the British website Metro.co.uk, the story involves the chef-owner of a restaurant called Carlini, which, to give you the Full Monty on its location (courtesy of Wikipedia), is in “Shropshire, a county in the West Midlands, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, and Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south.”
Somewhere, a Hobbit is getting homesick.
The chef, one Laura Goodman, posted on a Facebook page last week, bragging about a mean-spirited, unprofessional, downright dirty stunt she pulled on one of her restaurant’s patrons. She wrote: “Pious, judgmental vegan (who I spent all day cooking for) has gone to bed, still believing she’s a vegan.”
Later that same night, according to the story, she wrote, “Spiked a vegan a few hours ago.”
When commenters asked if this meant that she had added non-vegan food to the dining party’s meal, she responded by writing, “Actually, I should have said ‘they’re’ not a vegan … not ‘she’s.’ ”
Goodman’s post went on to detail her complaint.
“Started with asking me to telephone them, over Christmas, to discuss the dietary requirements of their guests within a set time frame, and ended with me wondering why I’m explaining this simplistic post to a pious c**t.”
Wow. Talk about un-social media.
Not surprisingly, people were outraged by the chef’s admission. Check out some of the online responses:
- From Jonathan: “I am not a vegan, but if someone was I would never feed them non-vegan. I am a fox-hunting Tory, but your behavior is despicable.”
- From Elaine: “I’m an omnivore but I am a lifelong teetotaler and would be very upset if someone spiked my drink. [People] think it’s funny to openly give me alcohol and say, ‘Oh, just get it down you, live a little.’ Very insulting.”
- From Robbie: “You feed vegans (who have trusted you and presumably paid for their meals) non-vegan food, boast about it on social media in a group that represents quite a broad cross-section of society, and get roundly chastised. You then decide that the problem must be with all the people in the group, rather than your own reprehensible behavior?”
Pretty hard to argue with that.
I realize there’s no official Code of Ethics for the foodservice profession — especially in England, where even the “fresh” vegetables are always brown when they arrive at your table — but the fox-hunting Tory had it right: this chef is despicable.
And it isn’t even the act of adding non-vegan ingredients to someone’s entrée that causes the most consternation. Certainly, most of the vegans I’ve encountered are seriously self-righteous, but for anyone involved in serving the public in any type of business, “annoying” doesn’t even begin to describe the vitriol to which one is subjected on a regular basis.
Being a vegan is the least of it. What about a “regular” diner who happens to be pious, judgmental and who demands to discuss specific service requirements during the Christmas holiday? What, they get their dinner spiked with laxatives?
Again, common sense suggests that a chef spiking anyone’s food with any sort of retaliatory measure is not going to be good for business. But to then take to Facebook and start bragging about it?
Along with the lack of mandatory ethical standards for chefs, I have to assume there’s no I.Q. test required to enter the profession, either.
Debbie Ireland, an administrator of the Facebook group to which Goodman posted, told Metro.co.uk she was “not at all surprised by the backlash.”
“It’s quite unnerving when you hear a chef and restaurant owner not only admitting to this,” Ireland said, “but gloating about it afterwards. I can’t imagine what else goes on at their eateries.”
Nor do I want to.
The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator