Chef Bee Responds to 50 Eggs Lawsuit: I Was "Kunkeled"

Categories: Food Fight

kunkeloishithai.jpg
Courtesy Lawrence Silverman
John Kunkel at Oishi Thai in an undated photo.
Round two has just started in the match that pits Chef Bee and Oishi Thai against John Kunkel and 50 Eggs.

Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, better known as Chef Bee, has responded to a lawsuit filed against him and his restaurant Oishi Thai on August 27, 2013 by former employer 50 Eggs Restaurant Company LLC. In June, 2012, Chef Bee was hired as executive chef at Khong River House, a restaurant specializing in Thai street food owned by 50 Eggs. About six months after the restaurant opened, Bee abruptly resigned from his position and returned full-time to his family-owned restaurant Oishi Thai in North Miami.

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

The 20-page Motion to Dismiss Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief, filed September 20, 2013 Miami-Dade Circuit Court , calls the original complaint "a spiteful, publicity-driven lawsuit with no legal merit" and "an attempt to stifle competition in contravention of clear Florida law and nothing more than an attempt to bully a small business owner through an over-pled compilation of misbegotten allegations."

The motion also gives the Miami restaurant scene a new word -- "Kunkeled" or "to Kunkel", which, according to the legal document means,

"To Kunkel" is acquiring a hire - liar - fire cache in the Miami restaurant business, as that appears to be 50 Eggs' pattern with its executive chefs: to hire them, accuse them of lying, and then fire them (or cause them to quit)."

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

The motion also raises questions about 50 Eggs CEO John Kunkel's knowledge of Thai food -- and karma in general, and includes a picture of the 50 Eggs leader dining at Oishi Thai, presumably before Khong River House opened.

"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, 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."

Location Info

Oishi Thai

14841 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Khong River House

1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant


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17 comments
YouWontKunkelMe
YouWontKunkelMe

John Kunkel has finally shown his true colors. I hope that any self respecting chef takes a second to really learn about the company that they are working for and for the media to stop talking about it. He is worse than any Snooki or Miley Cyrus that is looking for any attention to keep in the spotlight. At some point you need to take some responsibility for your actions and treat him the way he would like to be treated... with disrespect and a blatant slap in the face to hard working individuals. The term "Kunkeled" is totally appropriate and I hope everyone who fauns over Yardbird and all of his other mediocre restaurants read about his petty behavior and turns to hard working small restaurants with hard working chefs that would appreciate your business any day. Don't let the facade that his big money PR has put together because at the end of the day its all BS, and just a little advice for your so said big PR... STOP LETTING HIM TALK PUBLICLY! He is disrespectful to other chefs in the community on Twitter and his staff are just as bad. Shame on you John Kunkel. I hope you learn some humility and what it takes to run a restaurant with integrity.

hamelton
hamelton

When John Kunkel opened Lime on Alton Road several years ago I was working there.  His brother was on board at that time helping him build the lime into a franchise.  John Kunkel FIRED his own brother then sold the company for Millions of dollars.  Guess this guy has been working his way to the top like only he knows how. Wonder who he'll fire next, steel ideas/recipes from, or maybe this road will catch up with him.  Thats a real lousy dude.  hey New Times I got your next headline.  MULTI-MILLIONAIRE SUES CHEF FOR FUN, MONEY, OR IS IT EGO?

hamelton
hamelton

I worked at Lime on Alton Road years ago.  John Kunkel had his brother on with him to expand the brand and build LIme into the franchise.  He fired his own brother... Then sold the company for millions.   This guys cold blood runs deep.  Kunkel doesnt want a piece of the pie, he wants the whole bakery.  Wonder who he'll sue next or who's ideas/recipes he'll take next.   Good Luck Chef Bee.  Don't give up. Kick that bully in the nuts! 

lisaling1
lisaling1

I'm an attorney and my late husband was a talented chef.  He passed several years ago.  I understand this scenario quite well and it does happen from time to time to chefs who believe in the good of everyone and don't slow down to check who their getting into business with.  It happened to my husband and it literally broke him.  It was the beginning of the end for him. To trust in his business partner and watch him take all his recipes, staff, organization, and dreams for a few extra dollars.    I read up on this case.  It seems that this John Kunkel and his cooperate team have pushed the limits here and taken more that just chef Bee for a ride see this other gentleman that he apparently did the same to only a few months prior Romero v. 50 Eggs, Inc., Case No. 13-20939 This guy lost more than just money.  John Kunkel swallowed Romero's entire branding company.  This is a poor way to do business for any educated CEO.  These tactics will catch up with the 50 eggs group.  This case wont even make it to trial.  Its absurd to think that the 50 eggs cooperation worth millions could sue a chef for not wishing to work in their establishment.     


jgcamp99
jgcamp99

""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, 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.""

Not sure what is authentic any more, especially in South Florida. I want to say Cuban cuisine, but who knows.

CHEWSOBE
CHEWSOBE

Bottom line is Chef Bee created all the recipes and food selections for Khong from his Thai Family treasure chest.  You can see John sampling and enjoying those menu items in Oishi THAI!!!  Now, Bee wants to move on and live his life as he wishes.  Instead Kunkle wants to play the victim and greedy owner to penalize Bee.  Enough is enough....... you have your restaurant and recipes.  If you truly stand by what you say that "he can't run a kitchen" then what are you trying to achieve by stopping him from Miami Dade expansion?   

Dumbgoober
Dumbgoober

I believe thats Kenny Gilbert sitting across from Kunkel. It appears that John is firing Kenny between bites. Anyone else see this?

burritobowler
burritobowler

i know where i am going for lunch today: chipotle!! have you seen their commercial with the scarecrow??! way more entertaining than this lawsuit...... ZZzZZzZZZZzzzzZ

upswitch
upswitch

With regard to Save the Drama's comment, Kunkel made the initial "odd" remark in his legal instrument. Do you recall Kunkel accusing Bee of being "untrue to his Buddhist culture"? This drama is better than a Thai boxing match.

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

It's very sad when Kunkle's behavior is the "norm" for Miami businesses. Is it the heat? Is it the lack of simple ethics? Why are the majority of South Florida businesses once notch from being gangsters? It is rampant and disgusting!

SaveTheDrama
SaveTheDrama

Very odd, keep it in the courts and let them decide.   The photo of Kunkel eating at Oishi means absolutely nothing.  And bringing up 'karma' in a legal doc seems very odd.

tonytonocom
tonytonocom

"To Kunkel" is to build a restaurant concept from scratch & grow it to the point where someone pays you 26 million for it.  

Getting "Kunkeled" is what happens when his restaurant is busier than yours

Im a fan of both guys but its no different than any other suit when both parties think the other is crap after working together.  Everyone has the right to fight for what they think is right no matter how big, small, poor or rich.  John is a nice guy he actually did Bee a favor and took on risk of hiring someone who operates a restaurant.  As far as Jeff and Kenny...Jeff is a very nice guy but John runs his operation the way he wants, its his money and Jeff in the end didnt agree.  Kenny on the other hand sucks and had no business cooking for anyone, john realized it early and got rid of him.  Oishi Thai was going out of business and still will go out of business once this media frenzy is over.  Its a shame because Bee is a nice guy and cooks good food but the restaurant business doesn't care if your nice.  The turn-over in the restaurant business is high this happens all the time behind the scenes.   

Dumbgoober
Dumbgoober

I was Kunkeled once. Used me and abused me.

jaredbeaver
jaredbeaver

@tonytonocom How do you know all this? Kenny Sucks? Jeff didn't agree? John is a nice guy?  The restaurant business doesn't care? This happens all the time?   Do you even work in this industry? Or are you a 50 eggs secretary posting for hire? Do you truly believe that a man (John Kunkel) who sold his Taco shop for $30 Million dollars last year to Ruby Tuesdays needs to pick on and sue a hardworking young chef who is cooking at his mothers store to feed his family?  How can you or anyone in this country believe that we as society or customers can let bullies like this exist and turn this behavior into the norm?  Its only acceptable if the community and folks in Miami let it be acceptable. 

Everything you just said Tony is BS.  Businessmen who underestimate talented chefs and how this industry should be respected, can be pray off of hardworking chefs and talent (like the chefs you listed previously).  John Kunkel obviously does not respect the restaurant business or the chefs he steels recipes form,   Its people like you who think that the talent/ the chef /the creative side needs to take a back seat and get F*^!#& in the back seat by the John Kunkel's in this industry.  And for what so Kunkel can build his ego and have $31 Million dollars and Chef Bee feed his kids off of welfare?   The fact is in the John Kunkels, Jeffrey Chodorows, and Gordon Gekkos don't have enough young people standing up to them in this world.   If you've ever been bullied or seen someone getting bullied as a young man you would know what I'm talking about.   These Chefs that your talking about in the comment above, most of them made their bones by here in Miami.  And now Mr. Kunkel is going to push a non-compete and chase them out of town?  By the way anyone heard form Chef Kenny Gilbert or Jeff McInnis? Guess that non-compete chased them out of town too.... What a shame. Just when Miami was starting to get some solid talent.  

If anyone reading this is in the restaurant industry because they have a passion to be in the industry you'll know what I'm talking about.   I'm disappointed in the entire 50 eggs team and actually used to think it was a group pushing for better quality food & beverage in Miami.  Guess we all know what their real goal is money and their CEOs ridiculous ego.   What a shame. 

To the 50 eggs team.... Karma is only a bitch when you treat her like one.  Show some respect to this industry and stop $h!##!6@ on the your hard working chefs who make you rich. 

And thanks to chef Bee for standing up and punching the bully in the nose.  Your an inspiration man.  Best of luck to you, your family, and your future.  Good fortune will follow you.   



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