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This L.A. chef wants to buy all back-of-house restaurant employees dinner

This L.A. chef wants to buy all back-of-house restaurant employees dinner
Phillip Frankland Lee, chef-owner of Scratch Bar and Kitchen and Gadarene Swine, center, will offer free six-course tasting menus to all back-of-house employees during February. That includes anyone in a BOH restaurant position, from dishwashers to chefs. (Bradley Tuck)

If you're a back-of-house (BOH) restaurant employee, meaning if you work in any back-of-the-house restaurant positions, from a dishwasher to a chef, Phillip Frankland Lee wants to buy you dinner.

Lee -- who is a contestant on the current season of "Top Chef" and chef-owner at Scratch Bar and Kitchen, his Encino restaurant known for its whimsical small plates, and Gadarene Swine, his vegan restaurant in Studio City -- has turned February into his own BOH appreciation month.

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"In light of all the recent BOH compensation debates, I have decided to take a different approach to the way BOH staff is treated/compensated within the industry," said Lee in a statement. "I plan to feed any BOH employee completely free."

The compensation debates Lee is referring to have to do with Los Angeles' minimum-wage laws, which create a pay gap between those who work in back-of-house and those who work front-of-house, mainly the servers. Should we do away with tipping in favor of a service charge? Or all-inclusive pricing (something "Good Food" host Evan Kleiman is in favor of)? While the debate rages on, Lee has a temporary answer.

During the entire month of February, except Valentine's Day weekend, any BOH employee who brings in a pay stub that shows he or she is indeed a BOH employee, will be treated to a complimentary six-course tasting menu at either of Lee's restaurants.

Tasting menus at Scratch Bar and Kitchen can run $40 to $120 per person and the tasting menus at Gadarene Swine can range from $40 to $100 per person.

BOH employees are welcome to bring friends along, but additional food will be 50% off, rather than free. Alcohol will remain full price.

Scratch Bar and Kitchen, 16101 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 646-6085, www.scratchrestaurants.com. | Gadarene Swine 11266 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 508-5500, www.thegadareneswine.com.

I'll buy the first round. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jenn_Harris_.

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