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A 'MasterChef' winner called a vegan customer a d--- after they complained about his restaurant's lack of meatless options

Meredith Cash , Business Insider US
 Oct 03, 2019, 11:45 AM
"MasterChef" winner Simon Wood is under fire for calling a vegan customer a "d---" on Facebook.
WOOD Restaurant Group / Facebook
  • Simon Wood, who won the UK's version of "MasterChef" in 2015, called one of his vegan customers a "d---" after they wrote a negative review of his restaurant WOOD Manchester on Facebook.
  • The diner said Wood's attitude toward vegan food was "embarrassing" and "aggressive" in a review that they posted to his restaurant group's Facebook on Friday.
  • Wood called another one of his customers a "ridiculous person" after they wrote a review claiming that the chef "can't adapt to cook vegan food."
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Between protests in supermarkets, meat-based "vegetables," and neighbourly lawsuits over meat-filled barbecues, it's no secret that meat-eaters and vegans have had a considerable amount of beef in recent years.

Now the seemingly endless feud is back in the spotlight again, and this time it involves a "MasterChef" winner.

Simon Wood, who won the UK's version of "MasterChef" in 2015 and now owns WOOD Restaurant Group, lashed out at two of his customers after they wrote negative reviews of his Manchester restaurant for not catering to vegan customers.

Chef Simon Wood outside of his restaurant in Manchester, UK.
WOOD Restaurant Group

On Friday, diners Richard McCormick and Jake Norris both left reviews of WOOD Manchester on the restaurant group's Facebook page.

In his post, McCormick referred to Wood's attitude regarding vegan food as "embarrassing" and "aggressive."

"Being very rude, and excluding a huge and growing percent of the UK isn't a great business move," McCormick added. "Hugely disappointed."

"MasterChef" winner Simon Wood is under fire for calling a vegan customer a "d---" on Facebook.
WOOD Restaurant Group / Facebook

Wood responded from his personal Facebook account, writing: "Sorry for your disappointment d---."

"Being called a d--- by a chef is a little bit unprofessional," McCormick shot back.

Earlier in the day, Norris had expressed similar sentiments in his own Facebook review. He claimed that Wood "can't adapt to cook vegan food" and called his meal "disappointing."

Customer Jake Norris' Facebook interaction with chef Simon Wood.

Wood once again chimed in to defend himself, but this time he used the WOOD Restaurant Group's Facebook account to respond.

"It's not a given that I should adapt my menu to suit your preference," he wrote. "If you want vegan food go to a vegan restaurant....which incidentally if I went to one and asked for a steak I wouldn't get one. Nor would I expect to do so. Nor would I not recommend them for not giving me something I want. You ridiculous person."

A photo of chef Simon Wood.
WOOD Restaurant Group

This is far from the first vegan-related controversy to make headlines recently. Just this week, a woman said she had been "poisoned for life" after she was accidentally served a sausage roll rather than a vegan substitute at Greggs, a UK bakery chain. Meanwhile, back in June, PETA referred to Arby's as stuck in "the Stone Age" after the sandwich chain rolled out its "megetable" - a carrot made of turkey - to take a jab at vegan "meat."

In September, a group of vegans tried to stop shoppers from buying meat at a New Zealand supermarket by holding signs and chanting. That same month, a vegan woman in Australia sued her neighbours for barbecuing meat in their backyard.

Wood, McCormick, and Norris did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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