For much of the past year, Chef Bee oversaw Khong River House, a posh restaurant off Lincoln Road that earned a James Beard nomination for its refined northern Thai cuisine. But two months ago, he suddenly quit and returned to Oishi Thai, the restaurant he helped found in 2005.
This abrupt departure did not go over well. On August 27, Khong's owner, 50 Eggs, sued Chef Bee and Oishi Thai, alleging breach of contract. According to the 45-page complaint, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Chef Bee violated a noncompete agreement when he trained with 50 Eggs, resigned, and went into competition against the restaurant group.
The drama has saturated Miami's food scene, and neither plaintiff nor defendant has come out unscathed. While 50 Eggs impugns Bee's competence, other chefs such as Jamie DeRosa, Jeremiah Bullfrog, and Kevin Sbraga have lambasted the restaurant group. Social media flutters with support for Oishi Thai. Even at the restaurant itself, diners coo encouragement. "It's about money," one patron remarked. "Greed!" another declared. "I can't believe they are doing this to you."