Australian Chef Bans Vegans From Restaurant For “Mental Health Reasons”

Johnny 'Chuffin' Mountain has had enough.

Australian Chef Bans Vegans From Restaurant For “Mental Health Reasons”

Image: PerthNow

In a move that has unsurprisingly ignited controversy across the nation, celebrity chef John Mountain of Fyre Restaurant in Perth has declared a ban on vegans, citing “mental health reasons.” This decision follows a series of negative one-star reviews triggered by a dissatisfied vegan customer. Despite the backlash, Mountain stands firm, claiming that his business is thriving and experiencing a surge in popularity…

Veganism has always been a contentious topic, from airline’s pitiful offerings for their vegan customers to Nick Kyrgios’ surprising turn to a plant-based lifestyle, the topic always seems to get tempers flaring, whichever side of the line you situate yourself on. This week, in a move that’s reminiscent of the now-infamous Liver King’s brutal message to vegans everywhere, a chef from Perth has banned vegans from coming to his restaurant, sparking uproar.

The ban quickly gained attention nationwide, with vegan activist Tash Peterson leading the charge to organise a protest outside Fyre Restaurant in Perth’s northern suburbs. Employing his trademark (if problematic) sense of humour, Mountain remarked that “you always know when you have a vegan in your restaurant because they’ll tell you seventeen times that they are vegan before they even step a foot in your building.” Despite the outrage caused by the ban, Mountain proudly reports a significant increase in business.

The controversy stemmed from a scathing one-star review left by a vegan customer, criticising Mountain’s culinary skills. Doing little to diminish chefs’ reputation for being a little hotheaded, Mountain took the criticism very personally, swiftly retaliating with the blanket ban via Facebook, saying “sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre for mental health reasons. We thank you for your understanding”.

WATCH: The raging chef in question shares his reasons with the Today show.

The jeering tone of the statement drew further criticism, with Ms. Peterson accusing Mountain of latent insecurity and guilt around veganism… And yet, when questioned about his decision, Mountain expressed little by way of remorse:

“I have nothing against nobody apart from those who want to damage my business… You try and damage my business, you come after me, you are going to have the wrath of Johnny ‘Chuffin’ Mountain against you.”

John Mountain

The dissatisfied vegan customer, who had previously emailed the restaurant before leaving their scathing review, specifically called out Mountain’s gnocchi and risotto. After receiving a vegetable dish priced at $32 — which she described as “ok but not that filling” — she decided to go for the jugular, making a further comment that was ostensibly about the wider debate around veganism but ended with a stinging barb on Mountain’s abilities.

“I think it’s incredibly important nowadays that restaurants can accommodate everyone, and to not have actual plant-based meals shows your shortcomings as a chef,” the disgruntled customer commented.

Activist Tash Peterson has responded fiercely and claims to be organising a protest. Image: PethNow

John Mountain, who originally hails from the UK, has been living in Australia for over seven years. He made a name for himself as a celebrity chef, sharing an agent with renowned kitchen superstar Jamie Oliver, and his culinary journey includes appearances on popular cooking shows such as The Great British Menu and Chef Race. Mountain has also worked alongside some of the most esteemed chefs in the world, including Heston Blumenthal at the famed Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire and Marco Pierre White in London’s Mayfair.

Whether you take the view that Mr. Mountain has every right to turn away customers from his business upon whatever grounds he deems fit, or that Mountain is nothing more than a hothead with hurt feelings using the wider reactionary climate surrounding veganism to generate some cheap PR, one thing has been made crystal clear: sometimes the best way to stir up success is to add a dash of controversy to the mix.