Chef refuses payment from wealthy customer who mistreats waitress

Chef Lee Skeet, who works at Cora in Cardiff, UK, recently made headlines when he called out a group of rich diners for their inappropriate behavior towards a waitress and banned them from returning to the restaurant.

Skeet shared an email he had written to the entitled diner on Twitter, saying “I just think we should start calling out rich people who think they can treat people like crap.” The group of diners had racked up a bill of $1,200, but Skeet didn’t hesitate to speak out and back his co-worker who had been harassed by the group.

The email Skeet shared on Twitter began by thanking the diners for choosing his restaurant for their meal, but quickly addressed their inappropriate behavior towards Lily, who runs the front-of-house. Lily had been talked down to, disrespected, and touched unwantedly by members of the group.

Skeet explained that she had been left scarred by the experience and that he had spent an hour talking with her, feeling like a terrible employer and father. He requested their bank details so he could refund their entire bill of £1000, minus £100 that he believed they should have tipped Lily.

He also stated that he would pay the tip directly to Lily, since the diners had left no tip. Skeet then told the diners to never come back to his restaurant and suggested that they assess the people they surround themselves with.

However, in a later tweet, Skeet announced that he had decided not to refund the diners’ money and instead gave the bill of $1,200 to Lily. He explained that he had reacted too quickly and emotionally the previous night, but that he was not going to refund the customers’ money. He had instead kept it and transferred it to Lily.

Cora is an intimate restaurant that serves just 12 guests at a time, offering the best quality seasonal produce available each day. The guests are served a set tasting menu. Skeet has previously worked for Gordon Ramsay and made headlines in 2017 when he was almost killed after being crushed by a crane.

A lorry carrying a crane had mounted the pavement and crushed Skeet’s leg. The lorry narrowly missed hitting his son, who was in a stroller.

Skeet’s actions in standing up for his employee were widely praised on Twitter. Many people applauded him for showing what an exemplary workplace looks like and for backing his employee in the face of inappropriate behavior from customers.

One Twitter user wrote, “Oh my heart…an employer that just touched my heart. Lee, I don’t know you, may even never get the opportunity to meet you, but know the world would have been a better place if all of us could have been like you.”

Another chef chimed in, saying, “I am a chef. Can’t tell you the amount of times I have found one of our front-of-house in tears because of behavior like this. Bravo. Many forget that this is someone’s child and it is quite possibly her first job. Their first job should be one that sets them up.”