A Searing Indictment of Restaurant Kitchen Culture

Aurélien Largeau, chef at the Hotel du Palais Michelin star restaurant La Table d’Aurélien Largeau, stepped away from his position in December after footage of an “initiation ritual” was shared online. The incident involved a young assistant being tied naked to a chair in the presence of other staff—including Chef Largeau. (Descriptions of the hazing/footage are even more harrowing). Toxic kitchen culture has been a focus in recent years, with many chefs and restaurants, in the United States and abroad, facing allegations of abuse.

Business Takeaway: While this may be an extreme example of hazing, it is nonetheless a reminder of the dangers of normalizing such behavior, even if milder in scope. While some may view hazing “as a test,” its consequences can be varied and great—from poor retention and morale, a toxic work environment, or reputational damage to psychological and emotional harm and legal consequences. Do you still see or hear about hazing within your industry?