50 Eggs Sues Chef Bee, Claims He Broke "Out in Hives if He Had to Cook"

Thumbnail image for KhongChefBee.jpg
Bill Wisser
50 Eggs has sued the former Khong executive chef.
One of South Florida's hottest restaurant companies is suing a prominent former chef, alleging deceit, betrayal, and incompetence. In a steamy lawsuit filed this past Tuesday that reads like an epic novel, 50 Eggs Restaurant Company LLC alleges Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, known to most Miami restaurantgoers as Chef Bee, "would break out in hives if he had to cook" and "did not know how to run a professional kitchen."

See also: Khong's Chef Bee Headed to Oishi Thai

Bee is the former chef at Khong River House in South Beach. He departed suddenly last month, saying he wanted to return to Oishi Thai, a North Miami place he founded in 2005. 50 Eggs owns not only Khong, which has received national acclaim, but also Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and Swine Southern Table & Bar, two of the region's hottest eateries.

"I am personally and professionally disappointed in Bee's decisions, all of which forced us to this point," says 50 Eggs CEO John Kunkel. "It is truly unfortunate that Bee forced us to seek the help of a court of law to teach him the difference between right and wrong."

The 45-page lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, drew a strong response from Bee, whose lawyers call the claims preposterous. "[Kunkel] promised me this would be good for my family company," he said. "After two months, he broke that promise."

The lawsuit and response provide a stunning look at what happened backstage at the innovative restaurant that was a semifinalist for the 2013 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant; the award recognizes establishments that are "likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come." When Khong River House opened in December 2012, the restaurant gained an instant following thanks to its warm and inviting décor, innovative cocktail program, and authentic Thai street food. Though the news release announcing the opening of the restaurant listed a team of three chefs in the kitchen, it was the executive chef -- Bee -- who became the breakout star, quickly gaining celebrity status with a seminar spot at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Location Info

Khong River House

1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Oishi Thai

14841 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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42 comments
msciatto
msciatto

From the lawsuit rebuttle...

50 Eggs Restaurant Co., LLC v. Arreeratn

Case No. 13-027964-CA-01

And, one would also think that someone who “fell in love with Thailand,” “stayed there for three years,” “experienced the tastes and flavors of Thailand by sharing meals around tables in rural homes,” and had a “life-altering” experience – as 50 Eggs claims Mr. Kunkel did beginning when he was eighteen, see Complaint at ¶¶ 16-18 – would understand that just because he ate food in Thailand some twenty or so years ago does not give him a quasi- monopoly on the service of Thai food in Miami. One would also think that living in Thailand and sharing food in family homes – much as he did in Chef Bee’s restaurant in the picture above – would have taught him about karma. Again, apparently not.

The truth is that Mr. Kunkel learned of Oishi Thai because his fast-food Mexican restaurant was next door to Oishi Thai, he and Chef Bee became friends (apparently) after Mr. Kunkel began coming to Oishi Thai and frequently enjoying the family meal style fare that Oishi Thai cooked for its employees during the mid-afternoon period when the restaurant was closed, Mr. Kunkel and Chef Bee decided to join forces with Chef Bee as the executive chef at 50 Eggs’ operation known as Khong River House, and then Chef Bee resigned because Mr. Kunkel’s promises – including that Khong River + Chef Bee would be a platform to make both it and Oishi Thai prosper – proved to be false. Instead, after Chef Bee began working at Khong River upon its December 2012 opening, Mr. Kunkel prohibited Chef Bee from discussing Oishi Thai with customers at Khong River and took all references off the Khong River website.

AND THERE IS A LOT MORE 

msciatto
msciatto

I bet his blood boils over these comments, really funny stuff. This feed has more comments than the 50eggs instagram/facebook combined.

thekunkeltruth
thekunkeltruth

John Kunkel is a completed bully and a liar. He is self serving and will step on anyone to get what he wants. Don't believe anything he says or his PR machine pumps out. Just ask anyone at city hall in Miami Beach, any past or present Lime Franchisees, his business partners that are currently suing him, his past creditors, or his endless line of former employees. There is a reason that not one of his "Celebrity" Chefs still works for him. His current employees are running for the doors. Edit (in 5 minutes)

estet1966
estet1966

John's mismanagement can be best seen in his dumpy flagship restaurant Lime on Alton road in Miami Beach.  He still ones this one.  The rest he sold.

estet1966
estet1966

  Lawsuit sounds like a 5th grader wrote it.  Must be one of his yellow pages lawyers he loves so much.

estet1966
estet1966

John  Kunkel is a natural born liar and a bully.  Great salesman up front but will screw you in the  end.  Just ask any of his former upper management employees or Franchisee's from Lime

WakeUp
WakeUp

Those of you in Kunkel's camp should be very afraid. I strongly suggest you all take a long hard look at yourselves in the mirror and ask, "Am I proud of this?". I'll bet this isn't what you had in mind 2 years ago. It sounds as though at it's core, 50 Eggs(Kunkel) no longer gets it. Stop enabling this man and remember why you got into this business in the first place. The people, the hospitality, the relationships, etc... It's only a matter of time before you are on the business end of a lawsuit!

ChristopheB
ChristopheB

I cannot beleive that crap! this is sick! I have known Chef Bee for years and had the pleasure working on few projects in his kitchen, and let me tell you " he CAN cook" he is a great Chef, very talented and dedicated to his passion, cooking. he is an honest man who care very much about his family, and for this John guy to do this to this man, its out of the line. Why people with money and power always take advantage of talented people just to make them fatter?

ChristopheB
ChristopheB

This is sick, I cannot beleive what am reading, I have Known Chef Bee and had the pleasur and honor to cook with him in his Kitchen, the guy know how too cook. Give me a break. Another one of those douche bag who has money and now wants to destroy the reputation of an individual, just for money sake.

I just want to throw up when I read stuff like that,

msciatto
msciatto

This is getting totally effing hilarious.

alexconde77
alexconde77

To be completely honest Khong river is a bastardized Miami version of Thai food. If you want real Thai food in Miami go to Ricky Thai. Being from Hollywood CA And living in S.F. We know what great Thai food tastes like. Definitely not khong with chef Bee or not. This John guys seems like a douchbag... Am I right?

john1878
john1878

So obviously "Really" is one of John Kunkely Kunel's paid Minions.. and PR-Machine no surprise there. I remember hearing Chef Bee talk about John years ago right after he sold Lime (there is a Lime Fresh right next to Oishi Thai) he was scum then, and scum now! Listen to ChickandWaffles.

I have known Chef Bee very close for 7 years. I know how he cooks, I know his character, I know his family... I know his food!!!!

Who is "really" anyhow.. hiding behind an anonymous name, that know so much about Chef. LOL Give me a break!

This is the worst mistake Kunkel has made... I know many people already that are yardbird regulars, that were Oishi Thai regulars FIRST!!! that will never go to a 50eggs establishment AGAIN!

Screw you 50 ROTTEN EGGS!

chickenandwaffles
chickenandwaffles

50 eggs is AMAZING at one thing: PR!!!!!!!  how do you think they've gotten this popular with so much serious drama behind the scenes of all their restaurants?!  i used to work for them and i can tell you appearances are not what they seem..... and like everyone else, i got out of there before things got worse than they already were. bon apetit!

Really
Really

Bee is the kind of person that would step over you in one heart beat to get ahead.  If you really knew his character a lot of you wouldn't be posting these comments.  Chef???  If being a chef only requires you to pose for pictures and to take credit for other peoples hard work,  I should become one too.  I really didn't know that was all the qualifications needed.....

chefseanbernal
chefseanbernal

Another tyrant owner strikes again on the beach.....Believe me I speak from experience

Afluke
Afluke

You will never know guest. McInnis was paid to keep quiet.  Interesting, huh?

guest
guest

I would love to hear Jeff McInnis's side of his departure at Yardbird as I think it would tell a truth about who's side is actually on the right side of the road.  Jeff... I know you're reading this... what's the REAL story?  By the way, you are missed at the Yard, it is not the same without you.

1hunglo
1hunglo

Wow, just read the lawsuit. Why in the hell would he go forward with such allegations, true or false? John Kunkel is vindictive to say the least - I'd say dangerous to be more descriptive. Sheez!

Paty Damera
Paty Damera

First, Jeff Mcinnis leaves Yardbird & now this...definitely seems something is wrong with 50 eggs management!

guest
guest

What a stupid move by 50 eggs. What do they hope to gain from this other than a ton of bad publicity? With all of their staff jumping ship, it really says something about the kind of business John Kunkel is running. 

dumptruck
dumptruck

How about a link to the actual lawsuit?  I'd rather read it and make up my own mind than have some pseudo-journalist give me a recap. 

Wise1
Wise1

A wise man once said, "he who holds the basket of 50eggs eats the omelet". In other words, he who has deep pockets [Kunkel] rules the food world. Great to be King!

msciatto
msciatto

Oh 50egss. When you burn a bridge you lose more than a route over the water. 

Having personally known Chef Bee, and having seen his work ethic in the kitchen, how can you say anything other than Chef Bee loves feeding people. He loves cooking, he loves being involved with his staff, and the guests.

Between all these press releases among all of the 50Eggs restaurants, we can obviously see who the tyrant is, and I don't even have to say it. However, someone should jump on the urban dictionary definition of getting "Kunked" 


my .02

john1878
john1878

Chef Bee spent months in Thailand learning from family and local famous street food chefs to develop the recipes for Khong River House!


John was literally BEGGING Chef Bee to join..
Khong River  IS Chef Bee!

johnmshepherd
johnmshepherd

This is gross!!!!! Chef Bee made a choice for 50 Eggs over MANY other VERY GOOD options at the time before he signed with them! SCREW Kunkel! What a scumbag!

johnmshepherd
johnmshepherd

IF YOU CARE ABOUT TRUTH, HONESTY, INTEGRITY... BOYCOTT JOHN "ASSHOLE" KUNKEL and KHONG RIVER HOUSE & YARDBIRD...


THIS IS DISGUSTING AND PREPOSTEROUS!


I know Chef Bee personally, and know this entire story.. and this is TOTAL BULLSHIT!

John Martin Shepherd
John Martin Shepherd

IF YOU CARE ABOUT TRUTH, HONESTY, INTEGRITY... BOYCOTT JOHN "ASSHOLE" KUNKEL and KHONG RIVER HOUSE & YARDBIRD... THIS IS DISGUSTING AND PREPOSTEROUS! I know Chef Bee personally, and know this entire story.. and this is TOTAL BULLSHIT!

Ted141
Ted141

I smell BULLSHIT!

chefseanbernal
chefseanbernal

What a shitty situation.  Is it not illegal to prevent someone from earning a living?  Non-compete clauses never stand up in court as no one can prevent someone from earning a living and taking care of their family.  Good luck Bee.


Really
Really

When someone is telling the truth all you can come up with is their paid by john.  No one is going to boycott the restaurant like you  and bee want.  In the end the restaurant is still busy, people is still going eat there because the True chef is still there. The food is still fantastic if not better.  In the end who is going to care about a "chef"  who gave a bad name for all Thai people.  7 years is not long at all, I knew him since he came from Thailand and attended Miami dade college and tried to move up by stepping on other people, until he married his wife because she had money.  That is his true color.  As we thai people say "he lives under his wife's skirt"

michael.charles.76
michael.charles.76

I can make a fact based case that you just described John Kunkel!!!

john1878
john1878

@1hunglo VERY DANGEROUS! I see this as the end to him. This is a mistake he won't recover from.

Khong won't be the same without Chef Bee and John KNOWS it!

murdermysterymiami
murdermysterymiami

@dumptruckThe lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade, Florida, under case number 13-027964-CA-01.

john1878
john1878

@msciatto Chef Bee is an amazing soul, and brilliant Chef. I have known him very personally for a long time. The lawsuit is all lies by a disgusting human being!

Really
Really

My dear if chef bee did indeed spend months learning from family and local chef like he said he did, he is I regret to say, a very slow learner.  Till now he still doesn't know how to cook.  I don't think pointing fingers and ordering people to create recipes and then taking credit for it is by no means called a chef.  Yes, he does have public relation skills, and that is why a lot of you seem to be "oh no!!! poor chef bee!!!!!!"  Let me predict that you're probably his friend. It doesn't surprise me one bit or maybe bee himself.  :)  what was said in the lawsuit is all true but again it was john knowing he lied about his cooking skills and still hired him anyways is at fault too. 

michael.charles.76
michael.charles.76

You sound rather angry!!! Obviously you dont like chef Bee! I get it! That does that mean that this lawsuit has any basis??? I was there for the opening and training and I can say John Kunkel and chef Bee never saw eye to eye but John could sell Bee and thats all he cared about. He made his bed so he had to lay in it! But this lawsuit is only to save face because the restaurant did NOT have the success John Kunkel anticipated! The product never lived up to the hype! End of story!

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