Vladimir Keller, a German national living in Taichung, Taiwan, had called himself a Michelin-starred chef last year when working a stall in Fengjia Night Market. Kaohsiung's Hotel WO didn’t question these credentials when it hired Keller to prep a bountiful “Michelin banquet” in December of last year.
Nearly a year has passed since the banquet, but it turns out that Keller was flaunting nonexistent credentials. Keller—whose LinkedIn profile describes him as a freelance chef—was, instead, reportedly a temporary assistant at Kochu Karu, a Berlin restaurant that earned Michelin status well after his two-month stint there.
This version of the truth, Taiwan News reported on Friday, had been unearthed by the muckrakers in a Facebook group called Breaking News Commune. A small team of investigators revealed that he’d worked very briefly at Kochu Karu, where the menu consists of a hodgepodge of Korean and Spanish food, in a part-time capacity for a total of 45 hours between March and April of 2015.
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Keller denied the claims that he is lying in an email to MUNCHIES on Friday. "We will post out tomorrow morning a statement about this case and how the WO-Hotel cheated on me and spreaded [sic] fake-news in Taiwan," Keller wrote MUNCHIES, claiming that the hotel is "blackmailing" him. He noted that he has taken his Facebook page offline "because of the fake-news to avoid floodings [sic] of spam swearings [sic] and to protect our privacy," though he plans to put the page back online soon.
Kochu Karu did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES regarding what, exactly, Keller did while working at Kochu Karu. Hotel WO, for its part, seems to have scrubbed its Facebook page clean of evidence of the event from last year, posting a statement on its Facebook page on Thursday saying that it apologizes to Kochu Karu.
Hotel WO has also not yet responded to MUNCHIES' request for comment regarding when exactly it was made aware of Keller’s behavior, or how it made contact with him in the first place. In any case, this is all utterly bizarre.