It's been two days since news broke that Joe Beef founder and acclaimed Chef David McMillan was quitting the restaurant business after 32 years, rocking Montreal foodies to their core. Now, his partner and co-founder Chef Fred Morin has taken to Instagram to respond.
McMillan announced that he had sold his shares of his restaurants in an exclusive interview with the Montreal Gazette, which quoted him as saying "I never want to shave white truffles on to asparagus for someone from Toronto ever again in my life." In the article, McMillan describes himself as "burned out." The article notes that he plans to spend more time on his farm and with his family.
"We all have pandemic stories. After this amazing career, I was racking my head against the wall trying to figure out what I could sell online to pack in an aluminum box to deliver or to have picked up [...] I was trying to figure out a way to make crispy potatoes ride in an Uber. The whole experience was demoralizing," McMillan told the Montreal Gazette's Bill Brownstein.
"I just became angry. Angry at the door, angry at the refrigeration technician, angry at the dishwasher machine, angry at the price of meat, angry at the young chefs, angry at the older chefs."
Morin, who, according to the Montreal Gazette, bought McMillan's shares along with fellow co-founder and co-partner Allison Cunningham, took to Instagram on Saturday morning to respond to McMillan's decision.
"David has decided to retire for reasons that are his own. We chose to continue, to keep shaving those truffles, to move forward one oyster at a time. [...] Our restaurant's success is owed mostly to our staff's personalities, kindness and professionalism, and of course to our customers, from every area code!" he wrote.
"When I look at these wall[s], the only thing I see is a great place for floral wallpaper and a few more hanging copper pot[s]."
Joe Beef is iconic to the Montreal dining scene and was named one of the world's best restaurants in 2015. It's credited with playing a large role in the resurgence — or gentrification, depending on how you see it — of Little Burgundy, the neighbourhood where it opened in 2005.
In addition to Joe Beef, McMillan formerly co-owned Le Vin Papillon, Liverpool House, McKiernan, and Vinette.
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