A chef has been left "almost suicidal" after receiving death threats and a wave of negative ratings for her restaurant because she fed vegan customers a cheese-topped pizza.
Laura Goodman, who co-owns the Carlini restaurants in Shropshire, is understood to have offered her resignation as a result of the furore sparked by what her partner described as a "flippant Facebook post".
Ms Goodman, a Rome-born chef of 26 years, had boasted online about "spiking" a group of vegan diners at her restaurant in Shifnal after being unhappy that meals she had specially prepared for the group had been ignored in favour of the regular menu.
The post, made at 4.18am on Saturday on the private Facebook page ‘The Boring Group’, saw her claim a "pious, judgemental vegan (who I spent all day cooking for) has gone to bed, still believing she's a vegan".
That was followed by a later message in which the 47-year-old said she had "spiked a vegan a few hours ago".
The sharing of the comment on social media led to an onslaught of angry reviews that drove down one of the restaurants' average online ratings to one-star.
One person called for Ms Goodman to be prosecuted for assault and others sacked as vegans condemned the ethics of feeding customers any animal-linked food against their wishes.
Police were seen at another Carlini restaurant in Albrighton on Tuesday after she reported the alleged death threats on Facebook messenger.
Co-owner and fiance Michael Gale, 62, insisted the matter was a misunderstanding as he defended Ms Goodman's professional integrity.
"One of (the group) ordered a margarita pizza which is not vegan-friendly," he said.
"One of the waitresses at the end of the meal came down and said: 'You know, I think one of that group had a margarita pizza.'
"Laura said that if you were a vegan you'd know that mozzarella is not vegan.
"So, slightly disappointed that they hadn't chosen to have what she'd prepared for them, and amused at the thought that they had had that pizza, she made this flippant remark on Facebook."
He added: "Laura had probably had too much to drink. She is horrified, embarrassed and deeply sorry."
Mr Gale said their world had been "turned upside down with death threats, threats of violence, threats of lawsuits from all around the world" as a result of the comment and said the suggestive wording of the post had fuelled the anger.
"I think that the whole storm that has arisen has come from that word 'spike'," he said.
"We now understand that in the vegetarian and vegan world, saying that you've 'spiked' someone's food means that you put meat in it, which isn't the case here.
"She deeply regrets that she used it, she didn't mean to cause offence when she used it, and she's sorry."
Shropshire Regulatory Services have launched a probe into Ms Goodman's original Facebook posts.
A spokesman for Shropshire Council said: "We have received complaints in relation to this matter and are currently investigating. We're therefore unable to comment further at this time."