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.