Vegans have found new allies after a prominent chef banned non-vegetarians from his restaurant following complaints.
Perth’s Hyde Park Hotel posted a friendly reminder on social media on Thursday that all diners are welcome to enjoy their service north of the city.
The hotel posted a photo with the caption ‘Vegans Are Wisely Welcome’ with ‘Thank you for your understanding Xx’, a clear reference to UK celebrity chef John Mountain’s message for plant-based food earlier in the week.
Mr. Mountain’s Fire restaurant announced last Sunday that it would no longer cater to vegetarians after a diner complained about the food he was served, triggering a series of one-star reviews on its Google review page.
After appearing on the Great British Menu programme, Mr Mountain, a UK celebrity, responded to customer complaints about the restaurant’s vegan offering by banning him from his establishment and declaring ‘f*** vegan’.
Perth’s Hyde Park Hotel posted a photo of ‘Vegans Are Wisely Welcome’ under the caption ‘We thank you for your understanding Xx’, a clear reference to UK celebrity chef John Mountain’s message for plant-based food earlier in the week.
John Mountain (pictured) has doubled down on his vegetarian ban since Sunday, when the controversy began
Hundreds of people welcomed the hotel’s move as a much-appreciated gesture after Mr Mountain decided he no longer wanted to serve those who identified as vegetarian.
‘Thank you. The world needs more kindness not hate. See you in Hyde Park soon,’ wrote one.
‘Thanks for the love in such a difficult time,’ added another.
‘Thanks Hyde, it’s been a long day,’ said a third.
A spokesman for the venue’s owners, ALH Group, told Perth Now that the post ‘speaks for itself’ and did not wish to add anything further.
Mr. Mountain has become a source of ridicule for vegetarians, who first try to stop others from reserving tables before Bombfire spams him with fake online bookings to tank his online ratings.
A leading Perth vegan activist took it further by attacking Mr Mountain’s character.
Tash Peterson told 7News that the chef is a discriminatory, insecure, guilty person who couldn’t handle a valid complaint.
“An incident where this chef is clearly upset by a legitimate complaint, and then to discriminate against an entire group of people, I don’t see that as any different from banning Muslims or women, it’s a blatant form of discrimination,” Ms Peterson said. .
‘I think she’s triggered by veganism and I think it’s a defense mechanism against her own guilt.’
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Despite online activists literally trying to destroy his business, Mr. Mountain is sticking to his guns.
During a radio interview, he dismissed Ms Peterson: ‘She’s clearly not a trained psychologist’ – and said if protesters tried to step on fire, she would have no problem getting physical.
‘Call the police and the ambulance, put them on standby, because if they try to pull a stunt on me, good luck,’ Mr Mountain told Triple M co-hosts Zav and Michelle on Wednesday.
‘I am the licensee of the premises, I have spent about half a million of my own hard-earned cash. I have no investors, nothing. I will physically pick them up and throw them out.’
Since the first one-star review hit, its ratings online have fluctuated.
As of Monday Fyre sat at a 2.8 out of five, before climbing back up to a 4.4 on Tuesday – better than it was before Mr Mountain banned vegans.
Controversy erupted after a vegan diner left a one-star review discussing his ‘flaws as a chef’ which he took personally, prompting him to ban them via Facebook.
Notorious vegan activist Tash Peterson (pictured) says celebrity chef was unsafe
Later on Wednesday he appeared on The Project where he made the matter even clearer: ‘If you come after me, you’re going to get angry.’
“I have nothing against anyone except those who want to harm my business,” he said.
‘You’re trying to hurt my business, you’re coming after me, you’ll have the wrath of Johnny Shaffin Mountain against you.’
The ordeal first began when Mr. Mountain received an email a few weeks ago from a diner who had given him a bad review.
The meal she got was a $32 vegetable dish that her review described as ‘okay but not that filling’.
‘I think it’s incredibly important these days that restaurants can accommodate everyone, and not being able to eat real plant-based food shows your shortcomings as a chef,’ said the controversial review from the aggrieved diner.
It was Diner’s comments about his skills that prompted Mr. Mountain to take steps to ban self-identified vegetarians from returning.
According to another Perth restaurateur, the ‘minorities’, as he describes them, have the power to destroy their livelihood.
Mr Mountain said: ‘Sadly all vegans are now banned from fires (for mental health reasons). Thank you for understanding us.’
According to owner Elizabeth Peasley, Two Dogs’ Humorous Cafe in Beaconfield, south of the CBD, sees vegetarians as a growing customer base that the business needs to keep an eye on.
‘[They] can be an enthusiastic group when they have the potential to destroy a business for their friends to jump online and post negative reviews,’ he told Parthenau.
‘And it hurts when you work 100-hour weeks as a chef and put your heart and soul into what you do.’
John Mountain has somehow seemingly managed to avoid this potential disaster and has risen to the top of veganism, boasting how the business is now growing.
He said Fyre’s website crashed three times Tuesday as it struggled to keep up with an influx of reservations from eager diners.
Although he now has to request a $30 deposit on all bookings to prevent bogus reservations, that hasn’t stopped people from coming.
Before the scandal, Mr Mountain said he usually catered to half a dozen people on a weeknight, but those numbers had now risen to about 35 bookings per night as of Wednesday.
The deposit amount is taken from the bill at the end of the night.
Mr Mountain has lived in Australia for seven years after moving from Britain where he was a celebrity chef who shared an agent with culinary superstar Jamie Oliver.
He starred in the cooking shows Great British Menu and Chef Race UK vs. US.
He has also worked with culinary trailblazer Heston Blumenthal at the original Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, England, as well as the brash Michelin three-star Marco Pierre White in London’s Mayfair.
FIRE restaurants have been forced to charge booking fees after being hit by an army of online vegan trolls
Mr Mountain said his business was booming as of Wednesday and instead of getting half a dozen bookings a night he was now catering for more than 30 diners a day.
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