A report in the Dallas Morning News brings to light some alleged inconsistencies in the work experience of Casey La Rue, chef and co-owner of Carte Blanche. According to DMN, in various interviews with the press, LaRue has included stints at world-class restaurants in his experience. Those include New York City’s fine dining establishments Per Se and Daniel, as well as Clio (now Uni) in Boston and Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. However, when the DMN called said restaurants to fact-check, none of them had any record of La Rue’s work, either in the kitchen or as a stagiaire.
Before the DMN story was published on Thursday, July 21, La Rue shared an Instagram post which states that he “started out as a dishwasher and worked his way up to cook” and “decided to go on a mission to work and stage in as many fancy places as possible.” The post goes on to assert that he worked as a stagiaire at No. 9 Park in Boston, as well as Daniel, Per Se, and Picholine in New York City, among other unnamed places. The post explains staging as a job one does working “for free for days, weeks or months,” but does not closely detail the specific dates or number of days, weeks, or months he worked at these restaurants.
“I’ve always been forthright with where I worked,” La Rue tells Eater Dallas. “I was a stagiaire at these places, I’d go in on my day off. I was as stagiaire at hundreds of places. It’s what you do when you can’t go to culinary school. I would take the Chinatown bus from Boston to New York on my days off — the $10 bus. I’d find a couch on Craigslist to sleep on.”
On Friday, July 22, La Rue posted a since deleted refutation of the DMN piece to Carte Blanche’s Instagram account. In the statement, he alleges an employee quoted by DMN who stated the restaurant leadership was “disorganized and confusing” and “led him to question if La Rue had the restaurant experience he said he had” was fired for theft. He further asserts that he doesn’t know where his LinkedIn is and that it has no work history on it — in addition to sharing his opinion on the reporting by the paper and a recent review.
La Rue additionally tells Eater Dallas he is unaware of any online resumes and says he has not changed his recently. “Why do I need a LinkedIn?” La Rue asks. “I’m a business owner, I don’t need a job.” However, La Rue made a post on LinkedIn about dry-aging beef three days prior to the DMN’s story, and he appears to be active on the site with a profile that only lists his most recent role at Carte Blanche.
Following La Rue’s comments to Eater Dallas on Friday, the DMN updated its story with a screenshot of La Rue’s LinkedIn page in September 2021 that asserts he worked as a chef de partie for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, the group that owns Per Se, the Dinex Group, which owns Daniel, and at Clio between 2003 and 2005. La Rue told Eater Dallas he lived and worked in Boston from 2006 to 2008, when he would travel to New York City to work.
While Eater Dallas found no past mention on the Carte Blanche website of La Rue’s work history, a website promoting La Rue’s pop-up dinners and catering service in Southern New England lists his experience working in “3 Michelin star kitchens of legendary chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Joel Robuchon.”
“We’ve never had anything about [work experience] on the website. We only had menus, reservations. I hate writing things about myself,” La Rue told Eater Dallas.
According to the DMN report, La Rue told a reporter he worked under a different name and that’s why there is no record of his employment at the restaurants in question. He provided the DMN with a W-2 from the corporate entity that owns Daniel, but it did not match the year he purported to work there LinkedIn as chef de partie and identifying information, including the name, was redacted.
La Rue tells Eater Dallas he doesn’t recall saying he went by a different name when speaking to the DMN. “She called me at 5 p.m. on a Friday,” which is just as weekend dining service begins, he says by way of explanation.
The DMN report does not disclose how they were first made aware of the discrepancy. It’s not uncommon for chefs who’ve staged at famous restaurants to include these stints on a resume.
Carte Blanche has been hailed in the press, both locally by D Magazine and Eater Dallas, and nationally, in the 2022 Forbes Travel Guide. It has also been noted as one of the five most expensive restaurants in Dallas for its $195 per person tasting menu.
Update: July 22, 2022, 12:32 p.m.: This article was updated to include a new statement and post on the Carte Blanche restaurant Instagram.
Update: July 25, 2022: 11:01 a.m.: This article was updated to include a screen grab of a deleted Instagram post and additional information about La Rue’s resume from the DMN and a promotional website.