The restaurant industry is not known for being kind or gentle. All you have to think about is Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay's crazy, angry antics.
While sensationalized TV shows tend to highlight the worst of the worst in terms of restaurant drama, sometimes in real life it can be just as bad.
Unfortunately, this was a dramatic week at the much beloved Delray Beach eatery 3rd & 3rd this week. The confrontation resulted in the loss of much of the kitchen staff and the restaurant's Executive Chef Philip Anthony Licausi.
Clean Plate Charlie spoke to both Licausi and restaurant owner John Paul Kline about the conflict.
Apparently, tensions have been running high between the owner and executive chef for quite some time. Both Kline and Licausi admit to disputes in the past.
"He just walked out and tried to take the whole kitchen staff," said Kline. "Some came back, but I have myself and some replacements for the meantime. We've had many altercations in the past."
According to Kline, Licausi was let go due to a confrontation with a customer. He asserts that in addition to several negative interactions with customers, Licausi has walked out three times in the past.
Licausi's side of the story differs.
"I just had it," he said. "I walked out and then the kitchen staff walked out. He's [Kline] is just an explosive guy. I didn't ask them [the kitchen staff] to go, but they respect me as a chef. I built that whole team."
Licausi claims that the restaurant was too stressful of an environment. He told Clean Plate Charlie that since coming onboard about four months back, he consistently worked 90 to 100 hours per week, changing the menu everyday, without help from a sous chef.
While Kline has several options lined up for new kitchen staff, Licausi is currently looking for a new job.
As for 3rd & 3rd, Kline is trying to return to business as usual.
"It's been very hard to open in general, considering I built this place myself," he said. "But this is very unsettling. I'm going to try to bring it back to its original intent. It's very important that my staff is happy, I'm happy, and my customers are happy."
And we're just hoping it all works out for everyone.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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