Chef says recipe book was his, claims restaurant stiffed him before he quit

Chef fires back after lawsuit

A Kamloops chef who was sued last month by his former employer has filed a response in court, alleging the recipe book he took was his — and he says he quit after being stiffed by his boss.

In a notice of claim filed in small claims court on Jan. 11, Alchemy Brewing Company accused Mike Swann of stealing the brewery’s recipes and quitting in 2021.

Alchemy owner Al Renner is seeking more than $34,000 in compensation from Swann — damages and revenue he claims to have lost when the restaurant closed for nearly a month to come up with a new menu after its recipe book was taken.

In Swann’s reply, which was filed late last month, he said the binder Renner is referring to is his personal cookbook, containing recipes, conversion tables and reference material.

“These were drawn from a stockpile of notes and recipes et cetera that I have collected over many years and keep in an even larger collection of binders at home,” he said in the reply.

“At no time was there any discussion of an Alchemy recipe book.”

Swann said the cookbook was his personal property and never belonged to Alchemy or Renner.

“Everything was printed from my computer using my paper and ink, on my time, at home — in many cases years before Alchemy even existed,” he said.

“Alchemy has no claim to it whatsoever.”

Swann said the book would “come and go” with him and was not kept at Alchemy.

He said in his reply that he quit on April 10, 2021, for “breach of contract.” He alleged Renner refused to pay him as agreed and suggested he skim from tips to make up the difference.

“I told him this was unethical and illegal,” Swann said. “Upon leaving, I took my personal belongings — my chef clothes, my kitchen knives, a stock pot from home and my two binders.”

Swann said he left the Alchemy kitchen “stocked and prepped.” He said he’s not sure why the restaurant had to close for a period of weeks.

None of the allegations in either document have been proven in court.

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