MasterChef champion Simon Wood openly chastised a potential client for their reservation request, but many others strongly disagreed.
The potential diner contacted his Manchester restaurant, WOOD, to see whether they may receive preferential service because the visit was on a special occasion.
The message read: ‘As it’s the first anniversary from me and my husband, would it be possible to give us a good table with a nice view and maybe a complimentary dessert? As I want to surprise my partner.
‘Thanks in advance for your answer,’ they concluded.
Simon, 47, made his feelings clear on X, formerly Twitter, where he shared the email and wrote: ‘Unbelievable…. Free food for celebrations, that’s why we’re here after all….’
The post, which was uploaded on December 15, has since gained 2.3 million views, and social media users have reacted in droves to offer their thoughts on the matter.
Free food for celebrations, that’s why we’re here after all….
— Simon Wood (@SimonJWoodUK) December 15, 2023
The chef did take out the customer’s name to keep them anonymous, but social media user Olufemi Osasona believed they didn’t deserve to have their remarks posted at all.
’Publicly shaming a customer that asked for a complimentary dessert on their special day is so ghetto. She asked nicely and with courtesy. Could have used this to show empathy and score cheap points with it. It’s just a f*****g Tiramisu ffs,’ he said.
‘Chef needs customer service training.’
Simon replied with a single emoji of a face with a finger in front of their lips, implying that he believes they should be quiet.
User Benjamin Maynard added: ‘I really don’t see this as a huge crime, and it’s a bit of an overreaction to publicly shame a customer, even with their email redacted.
‘Regardless of your opinion on whether it’s justified or not, they only asked a question. People negotiate all the time from many different businesses. They’re within their rights to ask just as you’re within your rights to say no.’
User Chris Beddell was also in agreement. ‘I think you’ve blown this way out of proportion personally they’ve just tried their luck with it being an anniversary have a bit of understanding a decent person would have made that woman’s night and given her the dessert instead of crying on Twitter trying to make people look bad,’ he shared.
Amongst the 547 replies, there were also some people in agreement with Simon. User Manc Pictures wrote: ‘I just don’t understand some people. Yes, it is nice to get freebies, but you don’t ask for them!’
‘I don’t get it….. restaurants aren’t here to give people free things,’ Simon responded.
Some social media users have taken things further and have begun leaving ‘fake’ Google reviews on WOOD as ‘punishment’ for his social media post.
Don’t believe all the reviews you read folks.
— Simon Wood (@SimonJWoodUK) December 17, 2023
One of the one-star reviews reads: ‘I have no doubt the food is good, but after seeing the public shaming of a customer online, I wouldn’t touch this place.’
WOOD got back to each review in the exact same way to each of the reviews. They said: ‘This is a fake review as part of an online Twitter hate campaign.’
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Simon shared a video of the various reviews with identical content, urging his followers not to take the flood of nasty comments as truth.
‘Don’t believe all the reviews you read folks. Big love,’ he stated.
Simon appeared on MasterChef in 2015 and won, becoming the executive chef of the Oldham Event Centre. He established WOOD in Manchester two years later and has now expanded to Chester and Cheltenham.
He has also published the cookbook At Home with Simon Wood – Fine Dining Made Simple and returned as a guest judge on the BBC series.
MasterChef is available to view on BBC iPlayer.