New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park went vegan last year, but that choice has led to chaos, Insider’s Kate Taylor reported Tuesday.
A junior prep cook who quit the restaurant in November says he was paid $15 an hour. The vegan tasting menu costs $335 a person.
The cook recounted a massive food waste problem and being yelled at for scooping ice “too loudly.”
A former employee at acclaimed New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park says he was once chastised for scooping ice “too loudly” in the establishment’s notoriously quiet kitchen and that the eatery had a massive food waste problem despite its outward efforts to be environmentally conscious.
From May until November, Chandler Yerves was a commis chef, or junior prep cook, at the upscale eatery, which was once crowned the best restaurant in the world. He recounted his exhausting tenure at the restaurant to Insider’s Kate Taylor in a story published Tuesday.
“It was definitely a huge toll on my mental health,” Yerves said. “It was definitely the most egotistical restaurant I’ve ever been in in my life.”
World-renowned chef and Eleven Madison Park owner Daniel Humm announced last May that the New York restaurant would no longer serve meat and fish, becoming just the second restaurant with three Michelin stars to serve almost entirely plant-based food.
Yerves recounted a time he was sent out with a ruler onto the streets of New York and told not to return until he had enough 5-inch red peppers for the dish for the evening: fried peppers wrapped in Swiss chard. Two hours later, after visiting three or four Whole Foods stores, Yerves returned with the peppers, only to have half of them thrown away, he says, as part of what a former colleague called the restaurant’s “farm to trash” pipeline.
Yerves said he was paid $15 an hour during his Eleven Madison Park tenure. Patrons ordering the vegan tasting menu could expect to pay $335 per person.
Yerves and another former worker said most of the vegetables used at the restaurant came from delivery services rather than farms or local markets and that staff regularly chucked produce that had even a slight imperfection, wasn’t the right size, or went unused.
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