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May 11, 2008 05:47 AM

Should he stay or should he go?

It appears this chef completely made up his resume. Should the owners keep him on or should he be sent packing?

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  1. A reprimand is in order at the very least. I would fine him in some way and donate the money to a good cause.......such as a food pantry or soup kitchen......maybe force him to volunteer his services as well.

    The bottom line......if the restaurant is still profitable with diners coming in, let him stay. If there is a drop in revenue.....bounce him.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      I completely agree. Lying on a CV deserves a reprimand, but I don't necessarily feel a need for him to be fired. A chef, unlike a variety of other jobs - proves his talent on a fairly regular basis. Are recipes made to par? Do dishes get sent back? Does he work well with the others in the kitchen? Are patrons continuing to frequent the restaurant?

      As a backer, I'm not sure I'd get excited about financing his restaurant - and I could see not wanting to publish his book. But if his food is still good and what patrons want to eat - there's no point in firing. Cause he'd be rehired immediately.

    2. just like in any profession where a person lies on the resume, he should be fired.

      1 Reply
      1. re: swsidejim

        Exactly. A chef is a profession like any others.

        As to the restaurant being profitable ... as a customer I wouldn't go matter how talented he is ... there's lots of talent out there.

        If he will lie to his employer he will lie to his customers. Would I trust I was being served what is listed on the menu. If heritage, organic meat is listed ... really? Or would he cut corners there too?

        Not to be holier-than-thou... I doubt if any of us has not lied ... I certainly have. There is a chance that someone who tells small lies might graduate to grand liies and a life of dishonesty.

        But someone who starts with a big lie ... especially for their own profit ... won't think twice about the small lies.

        He also seems to have no shame in being caught in the lie ... and just offers excuses and justifications.

        If this chef has that much talent, it seems he could have been a sucess without the lie. So that's a shame.

        There is also a chance he could be delusional ... either way it is trouble in the making ... get rid of him ... or you open yourself to more of the same from others.

      2. Obviously a matter for his employer who seems to be standing by him But if this was Chez Harters, he'd be fired. By lying, man has broken the implicit trust between employer and employee. How could he be trusted again. We're hardly short of good chefs in Scotland or willing to move there from elsewhere in the country

        That said, why on earth did the hotel not independently check his references. It is a basic commonsense thing to do in our country as, presumably, elsewhere.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Harters

          I thought this was going to be about "Mr Shouty" (Ramsay) and his latest publicity stunt saying it should be against the law to sell imported food in restaurants.

          1. re: PhilD

            Nah. 'fraid not, Phil.

            However, a good poke at Mr Ramsey going on at egullet on the very subject.

            By the by, that'll be the Gordon Ramsey who complains about air miles and carbon footprints anbd whose latest restaurant is at Terminal 5. Call me a old cynic if you like, but is this latest rant any way connected with the fact his new "F Word" starts in a few days

        2. Marco Pierre White's comment of "He is capitalising on other people's names for his own benefit." pretty much says it all. Shades of Robert Irvine.

          15 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit

            i think the bottom line should be the quality of the coooking and the food.

            i am forever eating at places where the chef has worked with gordon blahblah and trained under michel doodah and the food is pants. if this guy can cook i dont care if he pretends to be the reincarnation of escoffier.

            almost everyone is creative with their CV

            1. re: pecandanish

              I disagree. His CV is *completely* made up. I agree with others upthread where if he's willing to do that, what else is he willing to lie about as it relates to the food he's serving?

              And I don't "blag" (which I assume means "lie") on my resume. But I'm also not cooking for people.

              ETA to add: I see you revised your post and removed the word "blag". But I still stand on my statement that I don't lie about my background on my resume. If this chef has the proper chops to be *that* good of a cook, why not earn his reputation on that instead of complete fabrications? Perhaps because it's the easiest way to the top vs. working hard to get there on your own?

              1. re: LindaWhit

                the meaning is more exaggerate or extrapolate rather than to lie outright.

                for goodness sake, who cares what he said if he cooks like an angel.

                not everyone has good fortune or privilege in life and most people have to make their own luck. well done him until i try his food, if he cant cook then to the gallows he should go.

                everyone lies even if only kidding themselves, its just a matter of degree.

                1. re: pecandanish

                  "not everyone has good fortune or privilege in life and most people have to make their own luck. well done him ...."

                  By lying on their resume? So you applaud him lying to get what he wants? What about working to get what you want?

                  We're not obviously going to agree on this issue. You think it's OK to lie to get what you want; I don't.

                  1. re: pecandanish

                    I dont lie on my resume, if your resume is a lie, you are a lie.

                    I also dont care if he can "cook like an angel", he should be fired, and start over, and actually do the work he claimed in his resume.

                    He should be given no special consideration because he is a "chef". A person who lies on their resume cannot be trusted.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I think it's really easy to say that because he's lied there's something "wrong" - but chefs are very often given the "artist" pass. In that, a great chef (or artist) that can be commercially successful is worth far more than traits of integrity, honesty, etc.

                      The other deal is that cooking food in a restaurant, unlike accounting or another field, is not exactly something that can be done in an overly secretive manner. A kitchen staff has a variety of people in there who know if this chef is keeping up or preparing a substandard product. If the chef is creating recipes for the kitchen to use, it's fairly easy to sniff out if those recipes produce a quality product. And if on top of that a chef can gain publicity for himself and the restaurant - and generate capital - who wouldn't want to hire him now.

                      Clearly those with the most ruffled feathers are the chefs/restaurants who feel as though their reputation has been used to get this kid in the door. Instead of going through the steps of slowly proving his worth - he opted to leap frog by indicating that his experience was of a higher caliber.

                      In general, I get the idea that someone who lies in an official capacity brings distrust to his credibility...but food is just such a quick judge. Recipes fail or succeed. Food is good or bad. I could take the time and research a great faux chef resume. I could sweet talk and continue to lie during my interview. But within 5 minutes of seeing me in a professional kitchen - it'd be obvious I had no clue what I was doing. He clearly has a clue what he's doing.

                      1. re: cresyd

                        some good points,

                        although I dont think anyone should be given a pass because some segments of society consider the person and artist.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          I strongly disagree those are good points.

                          Someone working in a kitchen will not risk their job to blow the whistle on the golden boy favored child. Whistle-blower has a negative connetation for a reason. Didn't your mama tell you not to 'tattle' on someone ... and when your job is on the line and you are not the star ... you are the one leaving and probably black-listed.

                          There are 'artists' or 'prima donnas' in every skilled profession. I fired one very talented guy who had been in the company for years ... and human resources more than backed me up. We were about to promote him when while reviewing his resume we found discrepancies. Yep, we missed him. We also got someone more talented ... and honest.

                          The restaurant, like my company, also needs to consider liability. If a customer gets sick at this restaurant and a lawsuit results, finding out the business hired someone who lied about qualifications ... and the restuarant knowingly ... and in this case ... publically condonded that ... whew ... just write out a check with lots of zeros on it.

                          1. re: rworange

                            In my defense, I thought the good points were: 1) that a true poser would be exposed pretty quickly in a kitchen, 2) that the folks with the most ruffled feathers would be the chefs names he used in his deception, and rightly so.

                            I no way condone this type of behavior, or false self promotion/deception.

                            1. re: rworange

                              I think comparing a restaurant to a general business just doesn't work entirely. My point about "cutting it" in the kitchen had nothing to do with tattling. If he was truly unqualified, it would show on his work quickly. If he was working on the line, he might produce at a slower rate or sloppily. If he was put in charge of running the kitchen and let subpar food slip out - that would be noticed by patrons and reviewers. If he was given the task of creating recipes for the kitchen - it would be obvious if they worked or not.

                              Also - the notion of liability doesn't entirely hold water. People get generic food poisoning all the time - and even if it results in hospitalization, it's usually really difficult to prove where it came from because it takes 24-48 hours to run through the body. E Coli outbreaks are rarely found in non-fast food restaurants, and it's often either written or generally assumed that "consuming raw meat or fish may lead to illness". So as long as this guy's not cooking with ingredients that are actually poisonous - I can't think of a generic situation where this guy or the establishment is going to get in trouble cause he lied on his resume. Calling yourself a chef is simply not the same thing as calling yourself a doctor.

                              There are artists and prima donnas in every profession - but some are far more accepting and coddling of those types because they simply are not (perceived to be) easily replaceable. The point of his lying is that it got him his job - but it would not have given him the chance to keep his job and get other opportunities if he wasn't good. If I was one of the faux references, I would be upset because what this guy did indicates that perhaps many other young chefs are using the same tactics and no one's checking references. To me, this would be far more a case of cleaning up a general HR system - not tossing this guy out.

                              1. re: cresyd

                                A restaurant is a business. And like any business, lying on the resume will get you in the door ... but if that person Isn't able to perform ... gone.

                                The employee I fired knew his job better than almost anyone. From the OP it was clear that the chef knows how to cook.

                                As to suing ... someone successfully sued McDonald's for spiilling hot coffee on themselves. A lawyer who is an 'artist' = $$$$ settlement. As a business you don't want to leave yourself open to that however remote. There is no shortage of star chefs. I'm sure they can find someone as good or better.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  >>As to suing ... someone successfully sued McDonald's for spiilling hot coffee on themselves. A lawyer who is an 'artist' = $$$$ settlement. <<

                                  The McDonald's coffee case is often thrown out there as representative of frivolous lawsuits. It actually wasn't. The person suffered third degree burns from the coffee and initially just wanted medical bills covered. McDonald's refused. During discovery, it was learned that many people had been burned by the coffee, because McDonald's policy was to brew it at a very high temperature, so that they could brew more coffee from fewer beans, and that McDonald's had knowingly weighed the cost of paying off a few burn victims against the savings they enjoyed brewing the coffee at the high temperature. Finally, even though there was a 2.7 million dollar judgment (later reduced to 480.000), punitive damages are typically based upon the percentage of profit of the company, and given that McD's is a billion dollar enterprise, the million dollar verdict was barely even a slap on the wrist (at the time, McD's made approximately 1.3 million in revenue per day on coffee sales alone), thus the jury took into account the relatively minor nature of the injury when making the award.


                                  1. re: DanaB

                                    Never said it was frivolous. My whole position is that there are a micro number of frivoulous suits out there and not the huge number some would like people to think.

                                    However, your post proves my point. A good lawyer will unearth all sorts of facts and connect the dots. As a business you don't want any possible dots to connect.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  Interstingly -- and very annoying to me -- is this guy gets a break. Irvine isn't.

                  Same thing with that Bear Grylls who lied on his Man vs Wild TV show two years ago. All is forgive now. But again, no one is letting the Irvine thing go. But every one is letting everyone else's crap go.

                  I say treat everyone equally and the Irvine deserves another chance. But again, it seems the press, everyone, no one is giving him the same break as others are getting.

                  1. re: HarryK

                    Hey - I have no problem with your statement "treat everyone equally" - however, I say give this guy the boot, just like Irvine had happen to him. Same with Bear Grylls (I don't know who he is) if he did the same thing. If it happens to "regular folk", supposed celebrities shouldn't get any different treatment.

                    But as Withnail42 said in another thread about a different topic: See: "Paris Hilton", et al.

                3. Seems straight forward... lie on your resume. You're fired.
                  He received a very high rating from a critic, but did the critic give him the high rating because of his fame and his connections?
                  Also, will customers avoid the restaurant knowing that he grossly exaggerated his credentials.

                  If goes there will be trouble, If he stay it will double,

                  My wife, Morgan Fairchild, agrees with me. Yeah, that's the ticket.