José Andrés has a new problem with the Trumps. The D.C.-based chef famously pulled out of a hotel deal with the president after Trump refused to walk back racist comments, and since then, Andrés has used his Twitter account to criticize Trump on everything from immigration reform to his response to Hurricane Maria. And over the weekend, it seemed presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, at least, has taken notice.
Early Sunday morning, Andrés tweeted a photo with a caption accusing Ivanka Trump of asking Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuschese to deny him entry to an afterparty where she was in attendance. The afterparty at Cafe Milano followed the Alfalfa Club dinner, an annual black-tie banquet for politicians and businessmen where Andrés was a guest; according to the chef, he was the only person not allowed into the afterparty. According to Andrés, Ivanka Trump was in attendance, and passed Andrés on her way in.
Thank you @CafeMilanoDC Franco Nuschese! I was a guest of the #alfalfaclubdinner2018 “everyone”welcome to the after party, but I’m the only individual not allow in? Is because @IvankaTrump told you so? You should be ashamed of yourself Franco.@washingtonpost pic.twitter.com/iJ5wQM18Z6— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) January 28, 2018
Ivanka Trump quickly denied that she had anything to do with Andrés’s refusal at the door in a statement to the New York Times, and, according to the Times, she exchanged text messages with Andrés to that effect. Just 12 hours after his first tweet, Andrés tweeted again to clear Ivanka Trump of blame, writing, “Thank you @IvankaTrump for reaching out. I believe now that you personally had nothing to do [with it].”
Nuschese, meanwhile, denied the snub was anything other than a “misunderstanding” in tweets on Cafe Milano’s Twitter account. He also claimed Ivanka Trump had no influence on the guest list for the evening and that Andrés was not on it.
Thank you @IvankaTrump for reaching out. I believe now that you personally had nothing to do.— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) January 28, 2018
Let’s now work on what’s important: Immigration reform, where #DACADreamers and Undocumented citizens will become part of a strong USA. With secure borders. With economic growth.
However, by yesterday evening, Andrés reversed his forgiving stance and once again tweeted his belief that Nuschese purposefully kept him out of the afterparty, writing, “Let’s not confuse my trying to Be generous and move on, with anything else. What happened happened and I stand by my account. I’m ready to move on.”
Andrés maintains that the incident was more sinister than a misunderstanding. He told the Times that other guests saw Nuschese and Ivanka Trump talking at the party. He says security told him that Nuschese, who Andrés calls a friend, did not want him there and that he refused to come outside to talk to Andrés.
Andrés’s fellow chefs have taken his side in the matter. And for some, the most worrisome aspect of the whole kerfuffle isn’t that a Trump would slight Andrés, but that a restaurant would treat a chef so carelessly — especially a chef as widely beloved as Andrés. Anthony Bourdain tweeted: “To my mind, the @CafeMilanoDC thing was never ‘about’ a Trump. It was about shameful treatment by a colleague and friend in the same industry.”
Andrés and Nuschese spoke and made public peace on Twitter. Although Andrés returned to tweeting about his nonprofit’s work in California and Haiti, just this morning, he reiterated his belief that the Trumps used their influence for petty revenge, writing “this is not the Washington we know.”
But someone with connections to her made the call to not let me in...Could Be she didn’t know, but it did happen....and this is not the Washington we know... https://t.co/47F2Ohjerk— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) January 29, 2018