Man talking(l+r), Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen(c)

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen/Facebook @chefbrianscomfortkitchen/Tiktok

‘It’s to get them to leave’: Professional chef says you should stay away from Pappadeaux

'I’ve seen a lot of this n snapped a few times.'

 

Braden Bjella

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Posted on May 16, 2024   Updated on May 16, 2024, 7:40 am CDT

A celebrity chef is calling out discrimination in the restaurant industry after an internet user shared a negative experience they had while dining at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.

In a clip with over 663,000 views, TikTok user and chef Brian Hill (@chefbrianscomfortkitchen), who says he has worked for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Eddie Murphy, and Mariah Carey, stitches with a video in which half of a party at a table is asked to go into the waiting room. All of the diners in the video are Black.

This behavior, Hill states, is unfortunately common in the restaurant industry. He then recounts an experience where he witnessed something similar.

A chef’s Pappadeaux warning

“This happened to a bunch of wonderful Black women, and it was…right before Easter Sunday, and they came in—it was about, I must say, 20 of them,” Hill recalls. “And the manager was like, ‘No. You don’t have reservations for 20.’ She’s like, ‘No, we do.’ He was like, ‘No, you don’t.’ He said, ‘Ten of you can eat. The other ten have to wait.’”

This, he says, is an “old trick” to make certain eaters feel unwelcome.

“It means it’s an un-vitation. It’s a non invite,” Hill declares.

Hill, who is Black, continues by citing another experience he had at a different restaurant, a Pappas location in Houston. Pappadeaux is under the Pappas umbrella of restaurants.

According to Hill, there was only one Black bartender on staff, and “no one spoke to the Black bartender. Only the white bartenders were huddled together.”

While Hill says the Black bartender gave him exceptional service, he claims the bartender also made it seem as though the other, white bartenders would not help Hill in the same manner he did.

Issues like these, he states, point to a larger problem in the restaurant industry. In response, Hill encourages customers not to visit restaurants like these.

“I want you to understand one thing: this keeps happening, and we keep doing the same sh*t,” he says. “They’re not interested. The line has been drawn in the sand guys. They are not interested in Black folks joining their establishment. But if we all stop, they’ll see that.”

“Black folks, you gotta understand what’s going on. This is real. This ain’t no joke…Stay away from Pappadeaux or any fern restaurant like that—we call them ‘fern’ restaurants because they sprout out everywhere,” he adds later in the video. “Stay away from these fern restaurants. Stay away from them. They’re not interested in the service to customers especially if you have the same tan as myself.”

Discrimination in the restaurant industry

This isn’t the first time alleged racial discrimination in the restaurant industry has sparked discussion on TikTok. One user claimed that a woman threw a drink at a table of Black diners. Another customer claimed that a table of Black customers was stared at by a white diner for around two and a half hours. A further user accused an Olive Garden location of seating Black diners in a different area than white diners.

@chefbrianscomfortkitchen #stitch with @The Daycare Lady ——- Just remember that OUR DOLLARS, MATTER ‼️. We must organize a system of OWN restaurant dining. Please wake up Black folks ‼️✊🏽✊🏽💯💯💯💯💯 — #pappadeauxseafoodkitchen #restaurantreview #chefbrianhill ♬ original sound – Chef Brian Hill

In the comments section, several Black diners shared their own experiences from their time working at and eating in restaurants.

“I spend my money at theses restaurants and tip good but they treat me like I’m less,” said a user.

“Worked in restaurants for a few years from busser to fry boy to line cook at 5 stars,” offered another. “I seen a lot of this n snapped a few times.”

“I’ve been working in the industry for 20yrs and I’ve seen so much discrimination,” wrote a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Pappas and Hill via email.

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*First Published: May 16, 2024, 8:00 am CDT