Sometimes chefs get skewered by critics: The crab cakes are cold, the steak is tough, the service is dreadful.
But rarely does the restaurant’s chef do the skewering – particularly, through the hand of one of his customers.
That’s apparently the case in Australia, where an unnamed Sydney chef allegedly stabbed patron Jamil Hossain with a skewer, according to the complaint. A press release from police states that an altercation ensued after five men dining at the restaurant made a complaint about the service.
Outside the establishment, the complaint states, the chef allegedly came outside “armed with a skewer” and, as a result “pierced the palm” of Hossain.
The alleged puncture wound is the latest (and craziest) story in restaurant retaliation: This week, The Globe’s restaurant critic Chris Nuttall-Smith wrote about Jen Agg, the owner of a popular Toronto restaurant, calling her patrons “douches” on Twitter.
“I was among those who suggested that Agg had gone too far,” wrote Nuttall-Smith. “The next morning I rebroadcast her tweet, with the heading, ‘File under ‘Own worst Jenemy.’ ”
Readers responded in overall outrage to the story, calling Agg childish and cowardly.
Commenter Scotch Bonnet asked, “If she has something to say to Table 2, why doesn't she walk over – like a manager – and say it to them, rather than tweeting it like some teenaged princess?”
“The customer isn't always right, sometimes they really are jerks.” wrote Calvatheson. “But in this case I wonder if the jerk restaurateur and the jerk customer deserve each other.”
It is just the latest in a shifting mentality, at least in the Toronto restaurant scene, where truly great establishments simply “don’t take reservations,” ditching basic customer care for a cynical, entitled attitude; where the line to get in is a purposeful aesthetic to appear like the cool place in town.
On a recent night out at a swanky bistro in Toronto, the sous-chef came to shame my table by challenging our decision to send back – you guessed it – ice-cold crab cakes. (A decision I cringed about, but agreed in principle with my date.) The chef was aghast that his customers would make such a “foolish” decision and needed to voice that concern.
I’ll never return, and hopefully, if such attitudes among chefs and owners continue, the entitled restaurants will see dwindling business as a result.
I suppose I should be grateful he didn’t take to Twitter – and, even more so, that he didn’t come armed with a skewer.