I am suing Carte Blanche Dallas for Racial Harrasment and Retaliation.

My name is Jeremy G. Leeper.

I am a black man who, like countless others, have endured horrible racist attacks while on the job and unlike most, I am willing to put my name and my future relationships in jeopardy to combat these attacks.

I am also a veteran of the United States Armed Forces by way of the mighty U.S. Navy. In the Navy, you learn very quickly that racism has no place in the workplace- for if the ship is sinking, and water is rushing through holes in the walls of the room, you are counting on your neighbors of all colors, to patch and plug those holes- and they are also counting on you.

Therefore, your brothers are brothers and your sisters are sisters, at work, and on the job… The Navy is where I received my education in hospitality and culinary arts. I worked alongside award winning chefs in Washington State and served Captains and Admirals in Hawaii. After leaving the military, I continued to work in culinary and made the transition to casual and later fine dining.

I would go on to work in fine dining for 14 years… The biggest difference between casual dining and fine dining is in the clientele. Fine Dining brings more wealthy people through the door, and with this comes a higher level of standard to the care of these patrons. Which, I never really understood why that was the case; why do rich people get treated “better”.

Still, this is the way that it was and is. This is one of the encouraging factors to write my first book in 2018 called The Six-Figure Server – Secrets of the Fine Dining Industry Elite. My idea was that if I could teach those in casual dining what it takes to work in fine dining, then more people in casual dining could gain employment in fine dining and take better care of their families. 

I had personally gone from 3 dollar tips to 30, 60, 90, 130, 160, 190+ tips. I felt an itch- to get this information out to as many people as possible. People who were from underserved and under-priveleged communities, ones who busted their behinds grinding double shifts only to come up with 80-90 dollars for the day when I would work 4 hours max and make 3-4 times that. 

I also wrote my book specifically for the young brown and black boy, who I once was, looking for direction on which way to go… But, there was a slight issue with this. There was always this little voice that would tickle my ear and say to me, “This ain’t for them and it ain’t for you either.”

 You see… There have been countless times that I have felt unwelcome, uncomfortable, and unworthy as a fine dining server. I have been a victim of hazing, endured racial slurs, racial epithets, racist jokes, racist mockery, racist anecdotes, racist comments, and racial harassment, racial discrimination, and workplace retaliation due to my voicing of these discomforts. 

So, why would I attempt to subject young black and brown people to these attacks? Why encourage someone to not only endure it to feed their families, but also deny the anxiety and the pain from it all? Still, I wrote my book and I advocate for this profession to young people, no matter what color they are, every time I am served in a casual restaurant. 


Because it’s like this: I believe that we can change the narrative of fine dining, and that it can one day become a place where everyone can feel equal, free, and completely comfortable. This will take work, and it starts with hsving the conversations that no one wants to have. Not even me. But for the greater good, I shall sacrifice, once again, my name, and my future relationships so that change can become reality.

The racist attacks I endured at one of my last fine dining employers was the last and final straw.

You are reading this because of what I experienced at Carte Blanche Dallas, the only 5 star, Five Diamond standalone restaurant in Texas.

The attacks I endured here have been traumatic to say the least. I have suffered anxiety attacks, nightmares, mental anguish, and loss of wages due to retaliation. I am currently suing Carte Blanch Dallas for 20 million dollars and my wish is that this story will encourage all fine dining restaurants to promote a safe space for all of their employees and extinguish any utterance of racism, hopefully before it is ever said. 

I interviewed for Carte Blanche Dallas in February of 2022. 

The manager interviewing me was the General Manager, Erica Lee. Erica is a South Korean woman. Erica told me that I was hired due to my background in fine dining and asked if I had any questions. I told her something very important to me, that I had been a victim of racism in the workplace before and asked if there would be a culture of this at Carte Blanche. 

Erica quickly assured me that there was not and that if I ever experienced it there to come to her and let her know and she would take care of it. 

*Remember this…

I soon trained and became a Carte Blanche Server, which was hard! 14 course meals, everything changed every day, (mostly). Different silverware for the different courses. Detailed descriptions. Wine pairings with their own detailed descriptions, for each course. I eventually caught on, and once I did, I felt at home. A great place to work, exciting menu changes, delicious and expressive, hard to find wines… I was in heaven. And the pay?! 

Very Good, Excellent Pay. 

It was all going great.. until, well, the racism sh*t started up. 


My fellow server, James, a white man, who occasionally flirted with the African-American door hostess and one day came up to me and said, “Guess what I just told her (the hostess), why do black people not know how to swim? …Because my ancestors threw them off of slave ships!” 

I looked in James’ eyes and said, “James, that’s not funny.”. He responded with, “Yea it is…It’s a joke!” 

(I don’t think I need to go into heavy dissertation as to why this type of comment is more than “just a joke and how I immediately got visuals of white men throwing my f*ing great grand parents off of the side of large ships into the whole ocean, right?)

I had to finish setting up the restaurant and work my shift, regardless of my heart pounding in my chest and ringing in my ears. At the end of the day, I confronted James and told him that I didn’t like the joke and told him, specifically that I didn’t want to hear any more jokes like that. He responded: “I apologize but I’m going to tell whatever jokes I want.”

Even though this reaction wasn’t sufficient to reconcile…

I attempted to work through this issue.

I really liked my job, a lot, and I didn’t want to cause any issues between staff. I wanted everything to stay the same… 

Days went by…and then it happened again. 

This time, from the same person who hired me. The person that I told upon hired that racism doesn’t work for me and that I don’t want to be subjected to it. 

Each day before shift, we would have a pre-shift meal and go over the information of the guests coming to dine that night. On this night, a guest by the name “Le” was to arrive. When Erica, whose last name is “Lee” jokingly stuttered while saying the guest’s name, another server asked Erica, “Why can’t you say their name, isn’t that your people?!” 

Erica replied: “That’s not my people, this must be one of those Jungle Asians, I’m a fancy Asian.” The same server then said to Erica, “Woah, Erica are you being racist right now?!” 

Erica responded, very cooly: “Yes, I’m being racist right now.”

Servers around me began to laugh. Most of them. But definitely not me, and one new server I observed was not laughing either.

At this point, I began to shake. My heart started to beat in my chest, I began to struggle to breathe and as soon as we were to disperse from the table, I leapt up and went directly to the bathroom.

I started to cry.

And I fought to breathe and calm myself down.

Not calm my anger, calm my heart rate.

I was having an anxiety attack.

I eventually calmed. I had to. It was time to go put on a smile, and work through my pain. At the end of the shift, when I was finished with cleanup, I went upstairs to the office with not only Erica, but also the owner of Carte Blanche Dallas, the head chef, Casey LaRue. I expressed to them the fact that I was continuously having to endure racism at Carte Blanche and that it was hurting me.  

I brought up James’ comments and Erica’s. 

Erica’s exact response: “Jeremy, I’m sorry…why do you care, you’re not Asian?” 

I proceeded to give my General Manager a lesson on what racism is and how it can affect anyone no matter if it is about them or someone else… I was told by the owner that he would “deal with it”. What happened next was I was put under heavy scrutiny by the staff including Erica Chef Casey, the owner, and James. James was in fact promoted to head server and began to bark orders at me indiscriminately. 

I couldn’t move about the restaurant without being told “don’t touch that” (Erica) and “you’ll stand where I tell you to stand” (James). I began to shudder when it was time to go to work. I became fearful of what would happen on this day, and on this day, and on this day. I began to have more frequent panic attacks. I literally felt my heart rate increase just entering through the back door. 

Everyone stopped talking to me.

That really sucked, man.

I was later told by another server that the night I brought up the racism at Carte Blanche Dallas, that they were told to not talk to me. That hurt. On my last night at Carte Blanche, Chef Casey hands me plates intended for a specific table and told me to go to another. 

We were trained that when this happened, to continue to circle around, cooly, calmly, and bring it back to “the pass”, the area that Chef Casey prepares and inspects the food and ensures that the right plates go to the right tables. 

I brought the plates back and told him that it was for another table, which I never dropped them down to the wrong table… I was trained to see that the silverware was not compatible to the dish which was a dead giveaway and allowed me to curb the embarrassment of not only myself but also of chef’s reputation… 

(In the past I had been told by a server who was training me than no matter what, make Erica and Chef look good and you won’t have any problems.) 

Chef Casey yelled furiously, cursing at me 4 feet away from guests insinuating that it was my fault he handed me the wrong plates. I was taken aback. Stunned.

He had never done this to me. I couldn’t do anything but stay frozen, looking at him and wondering what to do, what to say, where to walk, where to stand. He said, “Oh you want to f*ing stare at me, get the F out of my restaurant!” I asked him was he firing me. He said, “No, just get out.” 

When I got back the next day, I was written up, and fired, for allegedly putting the wrong silverware down and told they received an email from someone who dined at my table and said they never received their “cheese wine”, the specific glass that went with their cheese course. 

(Funny, I was specifically told and trained by Erica that if this ever happened, “Don’t worry about it, they probably won’t even notice it.”) It hurt so freaking bad. I once loved that place, and thought I’d found a great restaurant, high caliber, but with a small friendly team and No Racism. 

I had endured so much, not just those racist incidents, but all the scrutiny and reprimanding, and looks from all the staff, and the changes in temperament from my fellow servers and co-workers. They said some pretty hurtful things to me and others… 

and I recorded it all. 

I recorded the conversation between Erica and me and Chef where she admits that she was being racist.

I recorded being confronted by James and Erica, after the incidents, where they both reprimanded me, since James had been promoted.

I recorded James yelling at me and telling me that I shouldn’t let words get to me… 

Even though I made it known from the very beginning, they didn’t realize that I am someone who takes his rights very seriously and demand my employers not to encroach upon my rights as a protected citizen- and they did just that. 

After this experience, I decided to sue Carte Blanche Dallas. This was something that should not have happened. I should have been given the opportunity to have a racism-free workplace and my goal was to make it so this does not happen to anyone, anymore. 

By suing them, I could ensure that many people learn about the dark side of fine dining, how it has to be squashed and how these workplaces deserve respect given to all people… I began to prepare my lawsuit and started to ask around if any of my co-workers would corroborate my experience. Only 1 agreed.

This was the Sous Chef, Chef (redacted), who worked directly under Chef Casey LaRue. I met up with Chef (redacted) and asked that he write a statement, only about the things he saw first hand about by experience, and specifically told him to tell no lies. 

What happened next shocked me to my core. I read his statement, and had to fight a smile and say thanks as I left. I read his statement again in the car. I didn’t have a full panic attack, but I cried a single tear. I know that I went to go get evidence for my case, evidence to help me…

Carte Blanche Dallas racial harassment witness statement

Honestly, just reading his testimony was unbelievably disappointing to say the least. So sucky that you just feel let down by the person you looked up to as a leader, only to find out that they never liked you and in fact despised you, called you names that you had no knowledge of, and referred to people like you as monkeys? 

Man, it really hurt. 

Carte Blanche Dallas, with all of its accolades, and it’s damn good pastries, is operated by those that have racial sentiments towards people of color and this can no longer be a silent truth. 

I am suing Carte Blanche Dallas for 20 million dollars to help with not only pain and suffering, not only damages, not only lost wages, but also injury as I sustained frequent anxiety attacks and heart palpitations that have not fully recovered from this debilitating and traumatic experience. 

I wish to tell all who will hear and empathize that I intend to extinguish racism from the Fine Dining Industry and that I will fight to the very end until this is reality. Racism is not dead, and it comes in many forms, some subtle, and some harsh- all is illegal in the United States of America. 

Will I continue to advocate for individuals that work extremely hard in casual dining to join the Leauge of Extraordinary Waiters (LX-Dub)?!

You bet! 

Because the truth is, there are casual servers who can out-work, and out-perform some of us “fancy servers”. 

And I wish them all the caviar (and cash) that comes with the territory.

-JGL The Six Figure Server

This statement was written with the intention to bring awareness to an active lawsuit between myself, Jeremy G. Leeper, and Carte Blanche Dallas. This was written to inform the public of the matter and hopefully aid in the eradication of racism from Fine Dining restaurants. This is in no way, shape, form or intent to disparage or tarnish the name of Carte Blanche Dallas as a wonderful place to dine and enjoy exemplary service. However, the intent of this statement is to alarm the public that Carte Blanche Dallas is under the ownership of someone who is being accused of racism and has yet been brought to justice. For that reason, those who are against racism and retaliation are being asked to refrain from supporting this dining establishment until Carte Blanche Dallas is under new ownership. 

Link to case: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/texas/txndce/3:2023cv01091/376794/21/ 

Links to Audio Recordings Of Staff and Owner Admitting to Racial Discrimination



Contact: jeremy@jgleeper.com