david mcmillan joe beef

Chef says he doesn't want to shave truffles for someone from Toronto ever again

A famous Canadian chef is calling it quits, quoted as saying "I never want to shave white truffles on to asparagus for someone from Toronto ever again in my life" in the Montreal Gazette.

That chef is David McMillan, and he's ending a career in the Montreal food scene that's been anything but uneventful. 

He was co-owner of Joe Beef, renowned for its excessive French-Canadian-inspired menu, as well as Vin Papillon, Liverpool House and McKiernan.

The New Yorker profiled McMillan for quitting drinking in 2019, calling Joe Beef "North America's most hedonistic restaurant" and cataloguing McMillan's experience of being confronted in an intervention staged inside Joe Beef.

Though McMillan's departure is supposed to have been planned, vowing to quit when he turned 50, which just happened, the Montreal Gazette also quotes McMillan as saying he was "burned out" and "angry all the time."

He waxes poetic to the Gazette about instead working "at Home Depot in the tool or wood section" or for free "as an orderly in the emergency department at the Lakeshore General Hospital. I just want a boss and a shift."

"My mom has spent a long time working in palliative care and finds it really rewarding. Maybe I should," the Gazette quotes him as saying, before remarking "I never want to shave white truffles on to asparagus for someone from Toronto ever again."

He also made it clear that the stresses of the labour shortage in the restaurant industry had taken a toll on him recently.

Bar Vendetta and Grey Gardens owner Jen Agg weighed in, calling McMillan's decision "Extremely 'You're fired' 'NO I QUIT' energy."

"The lengths that man will go to to effect admiration (with a heaping side of pity)," she wrote in a tweet.

"You cannot change if you will only see yourself in the softest lighting."

Agg is known for her outspoken opposition to toxic restaurant culture.

The Gazette article also says McMillan "regrets getting into a skirmish with  ex-Joe Beef chef Gabriel Drapeau" and that he only drinks some wine once a month for special occasions, points which Agg also referenced in her tweets.

Drapeau had stepped down from working at Joe Beef to work for WeCook.

"Skirmish huh," she wrote. "'Strict supervisory conditions' what???"

McMillan also told the Gazette that leaving the restaurant industry may just be an "intermission" for him, but Agg and people who share her opinons on the chef seem to be hoping this is a definite finale.

Lead photo by

Joe Beef


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