One of Australia’s most popular and well-known celebrity chefs has destroyed a visitor to his Melbourne restaurant for what they wrote in “racist” a one-star review.
George Calombaris took to Instagram on Saturday afternoon to share a snippet of a review left for his Hellenic House Project in Highett, south east of Melbourne.
“Like others, we’ve dined in many, many restaurants and were keen to try this ‘authentic Greek’ experience,” the review read.
“It was far from it. Practically none of the staff were Greek (including the manager who was of Indian descent) and the menu didn’t reflect what has been posted online.
“Calombaris – this place is a joke and you’ve certainly got a few people fooled.”
The food, service and atmosphere were given one out of five stars.
Part of the review was cut out on Calombaris’s Instagram post, but the full review on Google says the patron claimed they waited 45 minutes for their food and had to chase up a staff member for it.
“Typically, we weren’t offered any compensation except that our food would be out in five minutes. Which it wasn’t. I should’ve realised it was going to be a disaster when I had to ask for the menu after 10 minutes,” the reviewer said.
The reviewer called it a “non dining” experience.
Calombaris wasn’t having it.
He hit back at the diner’s review, acknowledging that while his restaurant had made an error, the review was completely out of line.
“Won’t lie. I am 99 per cent a very positive human. But this is horrible. Yes. We made a mistake with your order,” Calombaris said.
“We are humans. And yes my manager is Indian. You know who you are guys. You’re not welcome ever to @thehellenichouseproject. You don’t have to speak Greek or be a Greek to work at THHP.
“You just have to be a good human. I am so proud of my team. I hate racism. F****n hate it.”
Many rushed in to agree with Calombaris, including fellow celebrity chef Manu Feildel.
“Well done George, people like this should just stay home,” he wrote.
“And that is a very polite way to say what I really feel like saying.”
His former Masterchef co-host Gary Mehigan shared a quote from Mohamad Safa.
“Our world is not divided by race, color, gender or religion. Our world is divided into wise people and fools. And fools divided themselves by race, color, gender, or religion,” he wrote.
The restaurant, which opened three months ago, was Calombaris’ first foray back into the hospitality scene following the collapse of his business after he was caught underpaying staff.
The former MasterChef judge, 44, was ordered to repay $7.8 million in unpaid wages to 515 members of staff in July 2019.
In an interview on Sunday’s Projectlast year with host Hamish Macdonald, Calombaris detailed his devastation after the resulting bankruptcy of his company Made Establishment.
“There was months of tears, anger and I was drinking a lot to take away the pain but then I snapped out of it and went, ‘no’,” he said.
He blamed taking on too much with his TV work and growing restaurant business.
“I thought I was invincible,” he said. “I thought I could get through anything I could do everything because I was taught as a young kid never say you’re tired and work bloody hard, just get on with it.
“I probably needed good management as soon as I went on the television.”