A chef has banned vegans from his restaurant after a run-in with an unhappy customer ignited an online war between carnivores and non-meat eaters.
UK-born celebrity chef John Mountain has posted a Facebook notice that reads: ‘Sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre for mental health reasons. We thank you for your understanding. xx’
Fyre is the restaurant Mr Mountain runs in the northern Perth suburb of Connolly. His statement on social media explained why non-meaters are no longer welcome.
‘A young girl reached out to me and said she was coming to the restaurant… and asked if there were vegan options,’ he said.
‘It was my only shortfall… I said I would accommodate her, I said we had gnocchi, vegetables… and that was that.’
UK-born celebrity chef John Mountain has ignited an online war after banning vegans from his Perth restaurant
On the Saturday in question Mr Mountain said he forgot about the women’s request because he had been busy catering a private party.
His sous chef was not happy that evening, scolding him for ‘not telling them about the vegan customer.’
On Sunday the young woman lodged a complaint.
‘My only option was the vegetable dish… it was okay but not that filling… and I was shocked to see it was $32,’ she wrote in her complaint via a direct Facebook message, as reported by PerhNow.
‘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.
‘I hope to see some improvements in your menu as I have lived in Connolly for quite some time and have seen many restaurants come and go from that building and none of them last.
‘If you don’t get with the times, I don’t hold out faith that your restaurant will be the one that does.’
It seems the restaurant took the woman’s complaint to heart.
‘As for vegans/vegetarians being a very low minority, especially in the northern burbs’ I try to accommodate everyone else,’ its response started.
‘Thanks for your negative review… please feel free to share your s**tty experience and I look forward to not seeing you again.
‘How very childish.
‘You and all your vegan mates can all go and enjoy your dishes in another venue. You are now banned.’
After Mr Mountain announced the ban on social media an online tussle broke out between his supporters and detractors in Google reviews
He reaffirmed his ban in a post replying to a disgruntled contributor to Google reviews.
‘But if you beautiful vegans want to join together and slag off my business then good luck, keep going, let’s see what my customers think,’ he wrote.
‘And from now on ALL Vegans are now banned from my restaurant. Thankyou for your disgusting review and please enjoy the Currambine. Xx’
These responses led to a flurry of competing one-star and five-star Google reviews between those venting their displeasure at Mr Mountain’s stance and those supporting the restaurant.
Mr Mountain told PerthNow the negative reviews ‘really hurts the business’.
‘F*** vegans seriously… I’m done. At the end of the day, it’s not what I want to do, they can f*** off.”
One review provided a lengthy lecture on why Mr Mountain should be serving vegan dishes.
‘In today’s society, the demand for vegan options is on the rise,’ the review reads.
‘Providing vegan options is not only vital for catering to individual food preferences but also presents an opportunity for businesses to target a wider market and increase their revenue.’
However, many reviews simply rate the restaurant ‘one star’ and provide no reasons, which prompted a response from Mr Mountain.
‘Oh my. All ten one star reviews,’ he writes.
‘Sadly we don’t overly cater for vegans although I’d sadly agreed to cater to our customers needs.
‘But that night I had a huge outdoor catering gig that spoilt their night. The vegan in question decided to be very personal about my ‘inabilities’ as a chef and for that I was a little rude to her reply.’
Interrogated by another reviewer, he provided the following response: ‘Oh my. I go out of my way on a daily basis to change the menu to suit peoples requirements.
‘But when I’m told I’m going to go bust because I don’t cater for vegans then we’re done. Rude isn’t half of how I truly feel.’
As a celebrity chef in Britain, Mr Mountain shared a talent agent with TV cooking superstar Jamie Oliver
There were unabashed supporters of his stance, who invariably gave the restaurant a five-star rating, helping it retain its four-star average.
‘I’m in love with the food. I especially love the fact that the menu doesn’t waste space on a vegan option,’ one person writes.
‘All the trees saved by this choice lessens our nations impact on global CO2 levels.’
Others objected to the ‘fake reviews’ being used as a weapon.
‘Trying to tear a business down with reviews is disgusting as you not only harm the owners but the respectable people who work there and trying to make a living to provide for family’s,’ a reviewer wrote.
‘These people are working ridiculous hours and dealing with stupid requests and demands from people like you who refuse to read a menu before dining.
‘If you know your difficult to cater for then buy a bag of chickpeas, draw a face on them and maybe you will have a friend.
‘I know plenty of vegans who understand that businesses do market research before opening their restaurants in specific areas to cater to the majority. I will be making my booking soon.’
‘Seems emotions were high from both sides,’ wrote a would-be peacemaker.
‘Both sides showed good reasons for this (both were human with emotions, one felt cheated of money and time and one felt personally attacked).
‘I hope you can get all these reviews removed from Google. Minus of course the initial review from the actual disgruntled customer, if one was left.’
Mr Mountain has lived in Australia for seven years after arriving from Britain where he was a celebrity chef who shared an agent with kitchen superstar Jamie Oliver.
He starred in cooking shows the Great British Menu and Chef Race UK v US.
He has also worked with culinary trailblazers Heston Blumenthal at the original famed Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, England, as well as the brash Michelin three-starred Marco Pierre White at the Mayfair in London.