Yesterday, it was announced that Philadelphia chef Georges Perrier was taking legal action against an anonymous blogger who went by the name Staph Meal. It seems Staph Meal has been causing all kinds of trouble in Philadelphia, taking on some of the city's biggest chefs and restaurants and pissing off a whole lot of people in the process. Due to the legal proceedings, Staph Meal's anonymity was compromised and he has decided to reveal himself on Eater under his own terms. Below, Joshua Scott Albert, a 25-year-old Philadelphian who has worked in the restaurant industry for eight years, tells Eater that he's just getting started.
What's going on that made you decide to come out?
The attorney who is after me has in some way shape or form figured out who I am, he has emailed the local press, and so I feel if I am going to be outed, I would rather have some control over it.
So is the end of your anonymity the end of Staph Meal?
It's not going to stop. There is just going to be a face behind it now. Maybe now I can start making some fucking money too, though I will note money is not my goal, it's just very time consuming.
Why the strict anonymity to begin with? I saw that you were switching IP addresses for each post.
Because it pissed off a lot of people, and it's a small city, everyone knows everyone. I'm more concerned about getting my ass kicked.
Why write this in the first place? What's the end goal?
I had been toying with the idea for a few months, then a friend of mine bought me the domain for my most recent 25th birthday.
There really isn't an end goal, there will always be people who need calling out in this industry. My lawyer has suggested branching into other markets: NYC, San Francisco, etc. That's very long term. I just want people in our industry to be treated a little better.
So you work in the industry. Do you mind if I ask what you do?
I work FOH, I have for about eight years now. I'm just a server, I have worked in New York, North Carolina, Virginia and here. I actually enjoy what I do.
That's good to hear, because it seems like people think you're somehow out to get the restaurant industry.
Not the case at all, I would like people to treat people better. Just because you're a chef or restaurant owner you do not have the right to be cruel to the people who work for you. Like I said in a previous interview, if your boss throws a book at you out of anger, you would probably sue them and it would not be tolerated.
Do you think there's more of a lax attitude towards bad behavior in the restaurant industry? Why?
I think that waiters like their jobs, and they're too afraid to take a stand. They are all concerned about getting to their next audition or writing a paper. That's not the entire reason of course. I don't know why there is a lax attitude, but I won't accept it.
So a lot of your stories come from anonymous tips and industry gossip, right? Are you worried people will talk to you less once you're no longer anonymous?
I am not worried about that, I think it may help me. I'm going to have to cross that bridge when I come to it.
Any big stories coming down the pipe to look out for?
For the next little bit we are going to be tackling restaurants who steal servers tips, we are also after Marcie Turner and her partner Valerie who own Barbuzzo. We are going to be going after Jose Garces as well, but not too hard. And by we, I mean me.
Yes, you're a solo act correct?
100 percent. And I'm looking forward to seeing Perrier in court. He has done nothing but help me, I would like to thank him to his face.
Anything else you want people to know?
I may get fired from job because of this, maybe I should use [this interview] as a way to say "hire me."