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Newly Vegan Chef Quits In A Fit Of Rage After Boss Refuses To Turn Restaurant Vegan

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Our personal life and our career often intersect.  We spend so much time, particularly in the USA, pursuing our career that friend groups naturally arise from said career.  As do partners.  Sometimes, our career actually informs our real life and we begin making a personal choice.

Redditor -SilverMoonSoul- found himself dealing with an employee whose personal life and job were no in direct conflict with each other.  Having no space or time to mediate th conflict himself, he unfortunately let the employee go.

After harsh biteback from the employee, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback on his actions from strangers:

“AITA for not hiring back my recently-turned vegan chef who quit in a fit of rage after he refused to cook meat, and blames it on a mental health crisis?”

Our original poster, or OP, talked about his business and the chef who had an issue with it:

“My wife and I own a restaurant and our speciality is our variety of locally sourced meats. Recently, our head chef has come out as vegan.”

“We were very supportive of him and even started buying vegan foods for him to eat at work. Last week he informed us that he couldn’t work with meat anymore because it conflicted with his values.”

“Although this was an inconvenience because he was the head chef, we were understanding and decided that we would assign other of our chefs to work with the meat.”

Eventually, OP’s chef went a little too far:

“Then last Sunday he told us he no longer would be ordering meat from our suppliers, didn’t want to see or smell meat around him.”

“He refused to work on preparing the menu for the fall and other duties that are directly related to his title as Head Chef and that he just didn’t feel comfortable working in an establishment where meat was served.”

“When asked what solution he proposed he said we had to stop serving meat. We told him that wasn’t going to happen. We had already tried to accommodate to him but this was unreasonable.”

“He then gave us an ultimatum, we either become a vegan restaurant or he quits. I told him he was getting worked up and suggested he sleeps on it before he says or does something in the heat of the moment and regrets it later.”

“He said he didn’t have anything to think about and quit on the spot because we are ‘a couple of murderers who profit off the torture and suffering of animals’ and he was disgusted at us, we’re a pair of c*nts, etc…”

After walking off, the chef decided he wanted his job back:

“He said a bunch of nasty things and even as he was walking out the door he kept yelling -in front of the customers- about how we and everybody who works here have no morals or empathy and all we care about is money and he wished we were cooked alive.”

“Yesterday my phone starts ringing and it was him wanting to apologize for his behaviour and ask for his job back. I told him not gonna happen.”

“He had disrespected and insulted my wife and me in front of our team, disrespected and insulted our entire staff and caused a scene in front of the customers.”

“Absolutely unacceptable behaviour. Sorry but no, you can’t have your job back.”

“He said he was having a mental health crisis, that’s why he acted out. I’m sorry but that’s not a get out of jail free card.”

“You just don’t drop that sentence and except me to act as if nothing happened. Actions have consequences. To throw that sentence there as if those were the magic words that made all problems go away…”

“After talking about this situation with some friends and family, a lot of them are telling me I’m an a**hole because if the man has a mental health issue that caused him to act out then I must hire him back and get him help. Am I the a**hole?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors agreed OP has no obligation to take this person back.

“You attempted to give this person every single accommodation you could think of. You told them to take a breath and sleep on their decision before doing anything drastic. In my mind…you already went above and beyond to accommodate this person.”

“So don’t set yourself on fire just to keep this guy warm.”

“Most likely what happened is that he realized there really aren’t many (if any) opportunities for strictly vegan chefs in your area…and when the reality of not having a job hit him, he came a beggin.”

“The thing is though…hiring him back would be risky. What if he decides to purposefully destroy a shipment of expensive meats?”

“What if he stops putting meat in certain dishes resulting in you having to comp meals? What if he decides to tell your staff and your customers that he wishes you would all be cooked alive again?”

“Quitting for moral reasons is one thing. Quitting the way he did, making outlandish demands, and wishing death on everyone in your restaurant makes him unfit for employment…regardless of his mental health status.”

“And if he gets his sh*t together and comes back later on down the line, apologizes, tells you how he’s in therapy or on medication etc etc…then maybe you consider hiring him back.”

“But until then, you have to do what is best for your employees and your family. NTA”-The__Riker__Maneuver

“NTA. Mental health issues are a reason, but not an excuse. You are still responsible for your behavior and actions have consequences.”

“In the real world, not everything can be fixed with an ‘I’m sorry,’ no matter how justifiable your original actions were or how much people can empathize with the causes.”-sociablebot

“He was all surprised pikachu when they told him ‘no, we’re not becoming a vegan restaurant because you’re demanding it’ and made a scene and QUIT purely out of spite.”

“Then after he had cooled down, done some Googling, and realized that he’s never going to find a job at another restaurant that meets his demands (esp. if he needs a reference to apply), he came crawling back with his mental health crisis excuse. NTA.”-Heart_and_Vine

“NTA. You can be sympathetic to his mental health, and not hire him back.”

“You didn’t mention if he said he was actually getting help for his mental health, which would be key for me to even slightly considering bringing him back (probably still would not, as he would probably still have the same opinion about cooking/serving meat).”-guppytub

People with mental health issues chimed in to say, no, actually, nobody gets a free pass on behavior like that.

“NTA and I even asked a Sous Chef (my stepdad) if he ever got the chance to own his own restaurant if he would rehire a chef who pulled this stunt.”

“He said they better not expect him to give a good reference, meaning he wouldn’t rehire them either.”

“My stepdad also said that rehiring someone like that could result in a lot of issues mainly involving purposely leaving meat out of dishes thus having to comp meals, losing customers, and possible bankruptcy for the business/location.”-ThrowAwayAnyMouse

“NTA. Frankly, I think your friends and family are nuts.”

“Sam is realizing that unless he can start a vegetarian/vegan restaurant or find one that’s hiring, he will never get a job as a head chef where he doesn’t have to work with meat.”

“He was an idiot to quit the job with you and he was lucky that you accommodated him as much as you did. I think most people wouldn’t.”

“And that’s just based on him quitting at all over his unreasonable demands, completely ignoring the things he said to you and your wife and the scene he caused in front of customers.”

“He will have NO problem finding a job where he cooks and works with meat. Him being unemployed is entirely by choice.”-PM_TITS_OR_DONT

“NTA. He told you he was vegan. Then he said he wouldn’t work with meat. Then he said you needed to change his menu or he’ll quit.”

“Then you told him to sleep on it before going to extremes and he responded by throwing a toddler grade hissy fit.”

“Now he’s coming back crying that this was all a mental health crisis? As someone who struggles with mental health daily, this angers me.”

“His behavior and the series of events sounds like his only issue is an extreme level of entitlement.”

“That, coupled with his very unprofessional behavior when he quit, has him crawling back because he most likely can’t find work with that attitude and reputation, and he doesn’t qualify for unemployment either.”-HoneyBadgerMarmalade

“I was so upset when I read his excuse and couldn’t figure out why it made me that mad. It’s because I deal with severe mental health problems every day.”

“I went through a mental breakdown, I spend a lot of money every year on therapy and meds to stay stable and functional, and in the rare events when I’ve had to come back and apologize for things I said or did because of my mental state, I never expected to get out of the consequences.”

“And this guy just thinks he can waive that card around and it all goes away? That’s not how it works.”

“Those of us with legit mental illness fight every day to function and to be as normal as possible. This dude is acting like a spoiled, entitled two year old throwing a tantrum.”

“Except a two year old gets to have a pass, because they’re two. NTA, OP. And if the guy legitimately did have a ‘mental break’ he sure came out of it quickly and without much intervention.”

“Lucky for him. But I’d be wary of hiring someone who acted like that and hasn’t taken the steps for appropriate treatment.”-krm1437

And also, most people gave OP credit for trying to accommodate his chef at first.

“NTA for so many reasons. And if you did hire him back (I’m glad you’re not) he would still be working with meat. If that’s a trigger, it’s not going to help his mental health.”

“And I love (sarcastically) that he says he can’t work with meat because it conflicts with his values, but then goes on to say that ‘he wished we were cooked alive.’ Nice values, pal.”-chicagok8

“NTA/ You did everything you could to accomodate his desires. When he started getting heated, you advised him to calm down, think it over, and come back with more than just emotion.”

“His response was to put you, your staff, your restaurant and your customers on blast with his resignation…Resignation accepted.”

“If you hire that man back, after what he did, you will be setting a precedent every other employee can follow: that they can trash you before customers, and not only won’t they get fired, they’ll get hired BACK if they quit on you.”

“If you won’t let him go because of his stupidity, let him go to stop OTHER people’s stupidity. As to your family, give them two options: Hire the chef to work for them, or shut up.”-Khasimyr

“NTA. I’m vegan and have worked in a kitchen that served meat. My supervisor was nice enough to not make me touch meat.”

“If there was a particularly terrible smell or they were preparing raw meat, he would allow me to host until they were done.”

“But as someone working in an environment that is not specifically vegan, I was under no assumption that the company would stop using meat when I worked there. We all had a mutual respect for each other.”

“I was able to advocate for more vegan options and teach my French trained chef on some vegan alternatives.”

“Vegan is a personal choice. I will never try to force anyone to be vegan, even if I wish more people were.”

“He could’ve been going through a mental health crisis, sure. If so, he should definitely take a step back and seek medical help.”-Val_notValerie

“Definitely NTA. I have both oppositional defiance disorder and I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years. You don’t do that. You just don’t.”

“If your main chef doesn’t want to cook meat anymore, fine. You tried to help him. He was given an inch and asked for a mile more.”

“He brought this on himself, whether he was having a bad day or not.”

“Also, you don’t just turn vegan. From experience, this is a long road you need to take, weaning yourself off the foods you’ve always known.”

“When you go cold turkey, you almost always end up reverting (though obviously there are exceptions). I’ve seen it a lot.”-GraceXGalaxy

Unfortunately, some people are just impossible to work with, and that seems to be what Redditors are trying to tell OP.

Hopefully OP can find further peace in his decision.



Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.