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Chef slammed for 'publicly shaming' customer for ‘mental' request

Chef slammed for 'publicly shaming' customer for ‘mental' request

The former MasterChef contestant took to X to share his thoughts on the request

A British chef has been hit with a wave of backlash after publicly calling out a customer who requested free food ahead of their visit to his restaurant.

Chef Simon Wood gained popularity after being crowned winner of MasterChef UK in 2015, and he went on to open his restaurant, WOOD, in Manchester, UK in 2017.

The restaurant offers up 'seasonal, high welfare and foraged exceptional produce', and has become a place for many customers to celebrate special occasions.

One such customer got in touch with the restaurant recently in relation to its 'festive menu', which they planned to enjoy while celebrating their first anniversary with their partner.

In an email to the restaurant, the customer wrote: "'As it's the first anniversary from me and my husband, would it be possible to give us a good table with a nice view and maybe a complimentary dessert?

"Thanks in advance for your answer."

The MasterChef star shared a screenshot of the email online.

It's unclear what the restaurant actually responded to the customer, but Wood decided to share his thoughts publicly as he shared a screenshot of the email on X.

He slammed the request in a caption alongside the image, writing: "Unbelievable….Free food for celebrations, that’s why we’re here after all…."

Some X users agreed with Wood, with one commenting: "Asking for the table is definitely OK, asking for complimentary stuff is mental."

Others, however, definitely weren't on the same page as the chef.

Wood has come under fire from dozens of X users who slammed his decision to share the email online, with many pointing out that the customer 'asked nicely'.

"Publicly shaming a customer that asked for a complimentary dessert on their special day is so ghetto," one person wrote after coming across the post.

They continued: "She asked nicely and with courtesy. Could have used this to show empathy and score cheap points with it. It's just a f**king Tiramisu ffs. Chef needs customer service training."

Wood has been criticized for sharing the post.

Another person responded: "I really don’t see this as a huge crime, and it’s a bit of an overreaction to publicly shame a customer, even with their email redacted.

"Regardless of your opinion on whether it’s justified or not, they only asked a question. People negotiate all the time from many different businesses.

"They’re within their rights to ask just as you’re within your rights to say no."

One viewer claimed Wood had 'forgotten' he worked in the hospitality industry, but he defended his response as he wrote: "Yes with a business that sells food. Or have you forgotten that. Hospitality doesn’t mean free."

Wood told LADbible Group: "Hospitality isn’t about giving profits away in the worst economic climate for decades.

"Hospitality means extending a welcome to travelers or offering a home away from home, within that we provide great service and ambience alongside well thought out seasonal dishes prepared with care and each one is made by the chefs meticulously from scratch.

Simon Wood hit out at a customer online.

"We have around a 150-200 celebrations at WOOD a week, giving something to everyone shouldn’t be expected, the entitlement surrounding this is obscene.

"Going to a nice restaurant and celebrating is the treat, the icing on the cake, the whole experience and team you have assisting you are building that memory with your loved ones.

"Any business can help you do that, but it costs money as you know, when you choose to go somewhere it costs money: restaurants, gigs, bars, theatres, shows, cinema are all hospitality and night time economy.

"Hospitality is an agile generous industry. It’s not one that operates on large margins. And simply to ask for free things before you get somewhere is not acceptable. Why is this expected of restaurants, why not holidays, flights, cars, buying a new iPhone or a newspaper?

"We provide on average 50-100 free meals each week at WOOD, around 4,000 a year for various food-related charities in the city, the people who come in and buy a dessert and keep the restaurant ticking over enable myself and the team at WOOD to be able to do that. But the negative take will always outweigh any positive."

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/ @SimonJWoodUK / Instagram / Woodrestaurants

Topics: Food and Drink, Health, Viral