Why Mario Batali Hates Food Bloggers
The Washington Post ran an article last week called “A Scorching Response to a Food Critic“. Restaurateur Roberto Donna has taken exception to a review with Washingtonian magazine dining editor Todd Kliman. Now he’s started a blog to critique local restaurant critics. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
Now Donna is rounding up his fellow chefs for a blog on inaccuracies in local food reviews — much like New York’s Kobe Club owner Jeffrey Chodorow, who has vowed to start blogging about New York Times food critic Frank Bruni’s reviews.
The thing that strikes me about this story, is that Donna is upset with the “factual mistakes about his finances and the food”. He claims that some information about a past bankruptcy was wrong, and a few minor statements about preparation of the food was incorrect – for example, the review noted incorrectly that an item was roasted, when in fact, it had been grilled. Like most chefs backed against the ropes, Roberto Donna seems to be flailing blindly, rather than admitting there may be an issue in the kitchen, and fixing the food. Instead, he’s plastering bumper stickers all over town saying “Don’t Believe the Washingtonian”. Sad.
When every critic in town is saying your food sucks, wouldn’t all that energy be better spent on the restaurant? Fix the damn food, and quit blaming the critics. Here’s a link to the article.
Chef Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain also weigh in on Food Bloggers and critics on Grubstreet.com
Wolfgang Puck has banned foie gras from his restaurant menus
The San Francisco Chronicle reports “The high-profile Los Angeles restaurateur San Francisco outpost, Postrio, served its last “Trio of Hudson Valley Foie Gras” appetizer Saturday night. The French-style super-fattened duck liver had already vanished from the menu at his Spago in Palo Alto.”
“The directive will extend to the rest of Puck’s large food company, including his 82 casual cafes and his packaged food business.”
Now I’m not going to weigh into the foie gras debate at this point. We’ve covered that many times. What really has been bothering me is that people consider Puck a chef. Maybe it’s because there was a period this last weekend, where I couldn’t do much more than crawl across the living room. This happened to be at the same time the Food Channel was running a series of “chef” biographies, and I was too damn sick to dig between the couch cushions to find the remote. I just dozed, listening to endless breathless accounts of the ascent of Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, and Emeril to stardom.
You will undoubtedly be disappointed to hear that I must have watched six of them. Fused with bits and pieces of dreams, at one point I could swear Flay was dancing across a cutting board with ice skates, making a perfect julienne of carrots with the oh-so-sharp blades. Anyway, I came across with the realization that not one of them were really chefs. Cooks yes, but mostly just lucky people that can unblinkingly dish out the pablum we seem so desperate to eat with our nightly dinners. There’s a big damn difference between a cook and a chef.
Mario Batali would be the big exception to this generalization. I think the man is insane (in kind of a good way), but a damn good cook.
VQ is looking to add some “youthful energy” to their Portland landmark.
If youthful energy means actually listening when I ask for a tea refill and not making me wait 15 minutes for it (when the pitcher is 4 feet away from me), then I’m all for it.
Well wishes to you, FD!
I watched a bunch of those Food Network chef biographies last week too. Best part was how they showed footage of each chef when they were just starting out a decade or so ago. It was amazing to see how every single one of the male chefs has put on a LOT of weight — at least 20 pounds — in recent years. Tyler Florence has really porked up. Batali must have put on at least 50 or 60 pounds in the past decade. Yikes. Not a healthy lifestyle, theirs.
If you really want to appreciate Batali, pick up the book “Heat”. You’ll see where that weight came from. Hell, I just returned from Vegas and I have a suspicion I took a big leap in catching up with him.
FD – hang in there.
Thank you for taking the time to keep us informed. We wish you well and hope to send you large take-out containers of P.F. Chang’s to aid in your recovery. :)
I have to say, in contrast to Donna and Chodorow, I’ve been impressed by the restraint shown by the Ten-01 folks in not going after their critics. It may be sad that in this day and age we feel the need to compliment people on simply doing the right thing, but nonetheless I give them props for bucking up and trying to address their shortcomings rather than shooting the messenger(s).
I wish the best of success to Ten-01. Agreed they got off to a bad start but hopefully changes they have made will result in another wonderful place to dine in Portland. Like Nate, I also compliment the owners for taking criticism with grace and changing based on feedback.