Police were called in yesterday (Tue) after a chef received death threats for boasting on Facebook about “spiking” a vegan diner’s food – with CHEESE.
Italian-born Laura Goodman told how she took her revenge after a group booked a table at her Carlini restaurant on Saturday night (30/12).
Goodman claims she “spent hours” preparing a special menu for the party, but lost her rag when one of them ordered a Margarita pizza topped with mozzarella, which is not vegan-friendly.
In the early hours of Sunday, Goodman, 47, took to Facebook to boast about how she “spiked a vegan a few hours ago”.
Writing on ‘The Boring Group’ page, Goodman fumed: “Pious, judgemental vegan (who I spent all day cooking for) has gone to bed, still believing she’s a vegan.”
Goodman, who was born in Rome, runs the Italian restaurant, in Albrighton, West Mids., with her fiance Michael Gale, 62.
Yesterday police attended the restaurant after Goodman claimed she had received death threats after her Facebook post went viral.
Speaking from the eaterie, Mr Gale said his fiancée, who has been a chef for 26 years, was “suicidal” over the scandal.
He said: “We had an enquiry from a party of around six to eight vegans and vegetarians earlier in the week.
“Laura loves cooking vegan and vegetarian food, because it challenges and there is complexity to it.
“She came up with some recipe ideas so that they would have more choice than the two or three items on our standard menu.
“She came up with this idea of some butternut squash and onion, this way or that way.
“She rang them back to say that’s what she was doing, but they didn’t pick up so it ended up being an answering message on a voicemail machine.
“Then they phoned back but Laura was in mid-service, so they never really discussed it.
“So Laura went off and bought the ingredients for those dishes.
“So on Saturday they showed up and, as is quite within their right, chose dishes off the regular menu.
“One of them ordered a margarita pizza which is not vegan-friendly.
“One of the waitresses at the end of the meal came down and said: ‘You know, I think one of that group had a margarita pizza.’
“Laura said that if you were a vegan you’d know that mozzarella is not vegan. So, slightly disappointed that they hadn’t chosen to have what she’d prepared for them, and amused at the thought that they had had that pizza, she made this flippant remark on Facebook.
“It was on a site called the Boring Group, which exists to make the banal things appear interesting.
“The members are effectively trying to show off, and Laura posted this thing saying ‘I spiked a vegan’.
“Since then our world has been turned upside down with death threats, threats of violence, threats of lawsuits from all around the world.
“It’s been global.
“The essential story is some vegetarians and vegans went to a restaurant, had vegetarian and vegan food, and left.
“We don’t even know if the person that ordered the pizza was vegan, she could have just been vegetarian, in which case there would have been no problem with her ordering that.
“The only complaint we had from that table was from someone who said that the salad wasn’t very interesting.
“We’ve completely shot ourselves in the foot. We now understand that in the vegetarian and vegan world, saying that you’ve ‘spiked’ someone’s food means that you put meat in it, which isn’t the case here.
“I think that the whole storm that has arisen has come from that word ‘spike’.
“She deeply regrets that she used it, she didn’t mean to cause offence when she used it, and she’s sorry.
“She’s sorry not just for us, but for all of the people that she’s offended.
“We cook all of our food here as Italian regional food, we do classic Italian peasant dishes from Sardinia to Sicily, and she revels in cooking authentic Italian cuisine.
“She’s horrified by what she’s done.
“With some of these threats that she’s received, she’s almost suicidal.
“She doesn’t want to go outdoors.
“It was a stupid remark in a closed group. She didn’t expect it to go viral, which was maybe a bit naive of her.
“At the time of making the post, it was in the small hours of the morning, and Laura had probably had too much to drink.
“I was driving back that night, and she had probably overindulged a bit and was angry that they hadn’t chosen to have the dishes that she had prepared for them.
“It was an overreaction, it was silly, but something like that can happen to anyone.
“The combination of the amount of work we’d done – working flat out in the Christmas season – and the drinks that she had took their toll.
“It’s all grown to be very out of hand.
“She is horrified, embarrassed and deeply sorry.
“She’s very worried about the death threats she’s been getting, the phone calls that she’s been receiving.
“We’ve had all sorts of things.
“People have been making phantom bookings – calling up the Shifnal restaurant (also called Carlini) to book a table of 50, even though we have only 30 seats.
“One of the waitresses’ mothers was also contacted in relation to this, which is sickening.
“We’ve had the police in here, because Laura took screenshots of the many threats that she has received on Facebook messenger.
“We’ve been shut since Saturday – that was always planned because the first few days of the year are normally quiet – and we are due to open up tomorrow evening as usual.
“People know her as a great chef, she’s loved for her cooking, and now she can go out there and remind people of that.
“I would just like to reassure customers that they shouldn’t be concerned about this flippant remark, because it doesn’t have any bearing on the food that we serve here, it was just stupid.
“Laura bent over backwards to try and come up with something special for them, and it’s so sad that it’s ended like this.”
Goodman’s original post, and the restaurant’s Facebook page has been deleted, but its TripAdvisor and Google pages have been flooded with poor reviews.
One TripAdvisor reviewer called for Goodman to be prosecuted for her actions, while George Wright wrote on Google: “Feeding a non vegan meal to someone who has made the compassionate or potentially even medical choice not to eat animal products intentionally is disgraceful.”
Another added: “This lady should be charged with assault.
“We are vegan for a reason, to disregard our wishes and boast about contaminating food is at least a sackable offence.”
Shropshire Regulatory Services have launched a probe into Goodman’s original Facebook posts.
A spokesman for Shropshire Council said: “We have received complaints in relation to this matter and are currently investigating. We’re therefore unable to comment further at this time.”
A statement from Carlini said: “We appreciate the outrage Laura’s ill-judged comment on social media has caused and would like to apologise for what it insinuated.
“She had spent a lot of time designing a special vegan menu for a party, who then decided to choose something from the existing menu – one meal of which was a cheese-based pizza, which isn’t vegan friendly.
“This is what she meant by the Facebook comment – in no way does this excuse the comment and we totally understand the anger it has subsequently caused.
“However, we want to assure everyone that the meals were all prepared to our usual high standards and in accordance with the Food Standards Agency. No meat was used in any of the dishes.
“We are passionate about creating high quality food and all of our chefs are trained to understand the different dietary requirements of our customers, many of whom are vegetarian and/or increasingly vegan.”