Restaurant receives threats and slurry of 1-star reviews before it opens for proposing to put foie gras on the menu

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Chef owner of Barnetts at the Old Bank House in Castle Cary, Maximillian Bennett, backpeddled on the decision to put foie gras on the menu after receiving a torrent of negative comments, threats and bad reviews for the restaurant, set to launch on November 1st. 

The chef put a poll on the restaurant's Facebook page -  asking customers whether or not to put a foie gras dish on the menu - but the public outcry was so drastic that he decided against it.

The chef later removed the proposed menu and posted a statement on his Facebook page in which he apologised for the offence caused, stating that he understands that foie gras "is a delicate matter," and as such provokes a myriad range of opinions. 

"It is never acceptable to make threats"

The intention never being to spark controversy, he said that "given that Facebook has a commenting section it spiralled rather quickly which we weren’t expecting."

"We value and believe strongly in everyone’s right to an opinion which is why we set out to give the public their say in what to do. Ultimately we have listened to the public’s resounding verdict and have decided to not put the foie gras on the menu."

The chef acknowledged that the mere proposal to put it on the menu offended some of his customers, for which he apologised. 

However, he said, he and the team were "saddened" to see that opinions were delivered with little dignity or consideration, adding that "it is never acceptable to make threats."

"Nor are the recommendations just ts we have not even opened yet! The comments and private messages were extreme to say the least, considering that in our poll we shared no opinion about the matter. We were trying to connect with the community and some felt the need to punish us for our earnestness.

"We would like to close this chapter and hope that changing the dish means we can focus on the opening of our new business. We understand the strong feelings on both sides but would like to ask you to now to respect our decision and allow us to persevere in trying to make a success of our small business."

What do you think chefs?  Was the chef right not to put foie gras on the menu after receiving threats and bad reviews? What would you have done? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 21st October 2019

Restaurant receives threats and slurry of 1-star reviews before it opens for proposing to put foie gras on the menu