Celebrity chef bans vegans from his restaurant ‘for mental health reasons’

Celebrity chef bans vegans from his restaurant ‘for mental health reasons’

A celebrity chef has “banned” vegans from his restaurant after reportedly receiving a negative review from a customer who criticised the lack of plant-based options.

On Tuesday, Chef John Mountain revealed on the Facebook page for his restaurant Fyre that the eatery would no longer be catering to vegan diners. According to Mountain, the decision to ban vegans from the Perth, Australia, restaurant was due to “mental health reasons”.

“Sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre (for mental health reasons),” the post on the restaurant’s Facebook reads. “We thank you for your understanding. Xx.” The post also included the caption: “Yep. I’m done.” and the hashtags #vegan, #not, #pleasegoelsewhere, #veganfreezone, and #nomorevegans.

The decision allegedly stemmed from a bad review posted by a vegan customer, with Chef Mountain telling PerthNow that a customer had reached out to him to ask if there were any vegan options at the restaurant, and that he’d promised he would accommodate her.

“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.”

However, according to Mountain, who previously starred on the BBC show Great British Menu, he’d forgotten about the woman’s request when she came to dine on Saturday, as he’d been busy catering a private party.

“Saturday came around and sadly I’d forgotten… I had a private party I had to cater for,” he told the outlet, adding that his sous chef had reportedly reprimanded him for “not telling them about the vegan customer”.

According to the UK-born chef, the woman wrote a complaint to the restaurant on Facebook the following day, in which she’d criticised the $32 vegetable dish that had been her “only option”.

The woman’s message also reportedly read: “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.”

 (Facebook / Fyre)
(Facebook / Fyre)

The restaurant reportedly addressed the woman’s complaint in a response of its own, in which it noted that it tried to “accommodate everyone” before encouraging the customer to “feel free to share your sh**ty experience”.

“Thanks for your negative review… please feel free to share your sh***y 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,” the restaurant’s response read, according to PerthNow.

Although Chef Mountain admitted he’d said he would accommodate the woman and then “didn’t,” she’d made the complaint “personal”.

The chef also claimed that, as a result of the woman’s complaint, his restaurant was flooded with negative one-star reviews on Google, which he said “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,” he added.

Mountain reiterated the sentiment while speaking to 7News, with the chef telling the outlet: “F*** vegans, I’m done with them.”

Mountain also claimed that customers should “know what they’re getting from me,” as he has previously written a cookbook titled Pig. “I once wrote and sold a book called Pig which had pork recipes. People know what they’re getting from me,” he said. “I understand where vegans are coming from but my job is to make food taste as good as I can and I can’t always cater to everybody’s dietary requirements.”

On social media, the chef’s ban on vegans has sparked an intense debate among customers, with some praising Mountain and Fyre, while others have condemned the decision.

“Bravo! Good on you mate, great stance. It’s nowhere near where I live but I will definitely come to your restaurant now,” one comment under the Facebook post reads, while another person wrote: “Can’t wait to try this place, just booked a table! Looking forward to a nice piece of rare steak.”

The restaurant has also received a flood of positive reviews on its Facebook, where many have praised both the food and the staff, while others have applauded the restaurant’s “principles” and “ethics”.

“Outstanding chef. Great rules and ethics,” one review reads, while another recent review states: “Great staff, great food and a chef with principles.”

However, the restaurant has also continued to face criticism over Mountain’s “ban” on vegans, with one recent review reading: “You can’t call yourself a chef if you can’t even cook veggies. Owner is very arrogant and can’t take criticism.”

“Discriminating and refusing vegans into his venue, all for a complaint for not following an agreed vegan option. How disgusting,” someone else wrote.

The restaurant’s alleged ban on vegans comes after a vegan landlord in New York City recently went viral after requesting that only tenants who follow a plant-based diet live in the building.

The Independent has contacted Chef Mountain for comment.