The doors of a popular gourmet pizza restaurant in Winnipeg remained closed for a third day on Monday after an article in a recently published book allegedly prompted its owner to fire his head chef.
Scott Bagshaw told CBC News that he was fired by the owners of Pizzeria Gusto on Friday because of racy comments he made about the restaurant business, his past drug use and his interactions with colleagues while at work.
'We play the "would you" game .… You know, "would you sleep with her?" type of thing.'—Chef Scott Bagshaw, quoted in The Last Crumb
The article appears in a locally published book about Winnipeg chefs called The Last Crumb, which was written by a Red River College communications student as part of a year-long, school-sanctioned project.
Bagshaw said one of the owners of the Academy Road restaurant, Bobby Mottola, read the article and fired him.
Bagshaw said he went into the kitchen and told his staff. Some responded by quitting on the spot as a show of solidarity with him — right before a busy shift.
"I walked in … and like that, no questions asked, [they] rolled up their knives, took off their [uniforms] and walked out with me," Bagshaw said.
Mottola declined to be interviewed about what happened, but said the restaurant will reopen as soon as possible.
Bagshaw said he doesn't regret giving the interview that led to the article and his subsequent firing, saying author Rheanne Marcoux only asked him to tell the truth about his past experiences.
"She wanted a story about how chefs are and what we think and what we do, and I … gave it to her … like 100 per cent honest," Bagshaw said.
In an excerpt from the two-page article, Bagshaw comments on what it's like to work in the pizzeria's open kitchen:
"Being in an open kitchen does have its perks. 'We play the "would you" game,' laughs [Bagshaw], who spends most of his 14-hour shifts rubbing elbows with his sous-chef Matt. 'You know, "would you sleep with her?" type of thing. We have our inside jokes, it makes you forget you’ve been working 14 hours.'"
Bagshaw said he's already got leads for a new job. He said the loyalty his staffers showed by walking out with him was incredible.
"As bad as getting fired feels, that feeling really offset it," he said.