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27th Jun 2023

Celeb chef who banned vegans from restaurant reveals his girlfriend left him due to backlash

Charlie Herbert

Celeb chef who banned vegans from restaurant reveals his girlfriend left him due to backlash

‘She couldn’t handle it’

A chef who banned all vegans from his restaurant has detailed the toll the decision has taken on his personal life.

In a post on Facebook last week, UK-born celebrity chef John Mountain – who has appeared on shows such as Great British Menu and Chef Race UK v US – shared a statement that read: “Sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre for mental health reasons. We thank you for your understanding.”

Fyre is the restaurant that Mountain runs in Connolly, a northern suburb of Perth, Australia.

His decision came after a customer at his restaurant complained about the lack of vegan options of the menu.

On Tuesday he revealed to podcast Youth Jam the saga has taken a personal toll.

“This week has been a pretty tough week…. it’s been tough on my personal life, in fact it’s ended my relationship so that’s very sad,” Mountain said. 

“My partner couldn’t handle it, she just kept breaking down and I thought ‘well that’s the last thing I need I’ve got enough vegans on my back.'”

Mountain became the centre of an online reviewing war when he forgot about a vegan woman’s request before she attended his restaurant.

Mountain announced the vegan ban on Facebook (Facebook)

The woman had got in touch to says she would be visiting the restaurant and asked what plant-based options were available.

Mountain said he would “accommodate her” but on the day he forgot about her request due to a private party Mountain had been busy catering for.

This led to his sous chef fuming at him for “not telling them about the vegan customer.”

The only vegan option the diner had was the “vegetable dish” which she described in an online complaint as “okay but not that filling.” What’s more, it set her back $32, PerthNow reports.

When the woman left a bad review online, Mountain responded with the message: “As for vegans/vegetarians being a very low minority, especially in the northern burbs, I try to accommodate everyone else.

“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.”

In response to another unhappy customer on Google reviews, Mountain wrote: “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.

“And from now on ALL Vegans are now banned from my restaurant. Thank you for your disgusting review and please enjoy the Currambine. Xx”

This prompted a reviewing war from meat-eaters and vegans who either wholeheartedly agreed with the restaurant, and therefore rated it five stars, or passionately disagreed with Mountain’s stance, and gave Fyre one star.

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 reviewer wrote a lengthy review about why Mountain should serve 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 with no reason, which prompted a response from the chef.

“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.”

Mountain has appeared on shows such as Great British Menu (Instagram)

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.”

On the flip side, many meat-eaters seemed to love the fact Mountain couldn’t be asked to deal with vegans.

“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.”

Meanwhile, other objected to the whole silly debate and criticised people using ‘fake reviews’ as a weapon.

Another said: “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.”

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 has also worked with the likes of Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, England, and Michelin star chef Marco Pierre White at the Mayfair in London.

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