Can't stand the heat? Chefs don't really have the option of getting out of the kitchen, so instead they respond to criticism by airing their grievances publicly. Whether it's in print, on blogs, on Twitter, or over the phone, chefs certainly have a way of letting their critics know exactly how they feel. Words of vengeance, first against the pros, then the amateurs, abound below.
LA's Red Medicine Launches Preemptive Strike Against Critic
Before Los Angeles Times critic S. Irene Virbila could try a bite of Beverly Hills restaurant Red Medicine's food, the restaurateurs took her picture and kicked her out. They then posted the photograph of the previously-anonymous critic online, saying:
We find that some her reviews can be unnecessarily cruel and irrational, and that they have caused hard-working people in this industry to lose their jobs -- we don't feel that they should be blind-sided by someone with no understanding of what it takes to run or work in a restaurant.
San Francisco's Pirate Chef Criticizes Michael Bauer
San Francisco chef Russell Jackson was not pleased with a bad review of his Lafitte in the San Francisco Chronicle:
I found the review personally and professionally offensive. It was a direct attack on who I am, my personal style and the innovative approach we have taken on creating Lafitte’s mandate, as well as a hit to the respect and honor of our Crew...Late to the game as we know [Chron critic Michael Bauer] is, there was no new information we could gleam from his biased and unbalanced review.
New York Restaurateur Insults Critic After Review
New York restaurateur Keith McNally was irate after New York critic Adam Platt's review of Pulino's, calling him over-weight, bald, and out-of-touch. McNally also set the record straight on his fashion choices:
"Finally, another inaccuracy in your review is the bizarre claim that I was wearing (of all things) a cardigan? I may not be a paragon of fashion but I haven't worn a cardigan since 1965. (The year Dylan went electric!)."
New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo wasn't having that:
"But if he’s a 'restaurant auteur,' as he’s been called, his recent work is more like 'Godfather III' than the Francis Ford Coppola masterpieces it followed (well, maybe not quite that lame). The maverick who played with fire now plays it safe."
So McNally figured Cuozzo needed to feel his wrath as well:
Cuozzo's an illiterate, low-life hack with the backbone of a centipede. If not, he'd be criticizing the abominable lack of quality on the pages of the New York Post, not the latest crop of restaurants to open in Manhattan.
Rick Bayless Accuses Jonathan Gold of Getting Facts Wrong
Rick Bayless felt he was misquoted in a Los Angeles Times review by Jonathan Gold:
"Thought a Pulitzer meant you checked facts. Sneering at me for something I never said is either mean or sloppy. I'm offended."
Eddie Huang and His Mom Respond to NYT Review
After Sam Sifton gave Xiao Ye no stars in his New York Times review, chef/owner Eddie Huang took the news gracefully:
"I loved this review... I'm going to change my attitude. I didn't know people expected more of me. I never thought I'd even be up for review with the NYT... But am I going to change this time? Yes. I can't just wing it anymore. People are paying good money for this."
And then he posted a letter from his mom, who took the opportunity to give Huang what-for:
"No matter what career you explore, there always going to deal with: discipline, honest hard work, social skills, leadership ON TOP OF YOUR PERSONAL TALENTS... Your talents will not shine or truly succeed until you have satisfied the basics that other competitors have already."
Graham Elliot on the Negative Yelp Review of His Unopened Grahamwich
After the unopened Grahamwich received a 1-star Yelp review for, uh, not being open, Chicago chef Graham Elliot questioned the online review site:
"I felt it would be a crying shame to pass on such an awesome opportunity to highlight the ridiculousness that is Yelp. The fact that someone has the ability to openly critique a business that has yet to open, leads me to question the legitimacy of the reviews involving businesses that are in actual operation."
Marcus Wareing Berates Bloggers for Bad Review
British chef Marcus Wareing called some London bloggers who posted a negative review of his Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley on their website to personally rip them a new one. According to the blogger in question, Wareing "ranted" at her and her husband and was "actually abusive." She also claims he asked her, "How would you like me to write about you and your appearance and the way you dress?" Wareing later defended his right to respond to the review.
Miscellaneous Chef Rants
· Chef Sara Jenkins Swears Off Stupid Benefit Events
· Cosentino and Pastore's Anti-OpenTable Rant
· Drew Nieporent Pissed that Michael White Poaches His Workers
· Grant Achatz to Food Bloggers: Stop Taking Photos, Your Food's Getting Cold
· Writer Kicked Out of Marc Forgione After Chastising Chef