That's what I was thinking. Unless it came to fisticuffs (and perhaps not even then) I can't imagine a restaurant firing someone for slapping a runner's hand off the pass.
Slap of a hand?
That's nothing compared to Ramsay.
When I accepted Doug's truth, I accepted it as I did each account in Roshomon. i have little doubt that there are other accounts, some of which may portray the move as somethig more than just a little unnecessary force. I have known restaurant employees to be fired for less than what would put you in the brig in army and with greater speed and no hearing. We live in a world
Now, can I imagine that Psaltis was a bad fit for French Laundry, and that this caused some mutual dissatisfaction? Absolutely. Can I imagine that Psaltis' departure from French Laundry was mutually desired? Certainly. Can I imagine that the slapping incident was the beginning of the end, and a moment that led to this parting of the ways? Sure.
Can you imagine it as the end of the beginning, or as a moment that culminated the parting of the ways? I can.
Can I imagine that Psaltis had motivations for leaving this incident out of his book? Yes. But I can also imagine that people at French Laundry, people fiercely loyal to Keller and who have heavily bought into his unassailable sacred cow mystique, would spin the incident and Psaltis' departure in the opposite direction, and that the rumor mill would really get going. These are both natural and indeed expected reactions.
I can believe people will be selfserving in what they see, not only in what they say, but this notion of Keller as a sacred cow seems a misreading of the reason he's respected in the first place. If the man is untouchable, can you imagine it may be because he deserves the respect he's earned. I daresay Michael (Ruhlman) has a reputation as a journalist to protect, as much as he has a friendship with Keller, and his writing has earned him a reputation of trust.
I'm quite sure that if Keller feels that Psaltis' book -- and surely he is aware of it -- is unfair to him and French Laundry, and if he feels that it is connected to this incident, or that the story needs to be clarified with a description of this incident (or whatever the hell it is that Mssrs. Bourdan and Ruhlman are getting after), he is perfectly capable of saying, "Doug Psaltis slapped a runner at French Laundry and I shitcanned him" or "I thought Psaltis was a bad, cocaine-addicted chef, and when he punched a porter in the face it gave me the perfect excuse to fire him" or whatever. Having friends of the house and/or employees making insinuations and spreading rumors is sleazy, and beneath someone of Keller's stature. Frankly, I hope he wouldn't approve.
He probably doesn't and I supsect he'd be just as happy not to have anyone appear to fight his battle, but the concensus I read and not necessarily from those who know Keller is that it would be silly for him to sully himself in relation to what's likely not to be nearly as important a book as some make out. Of course horse races are easier to predict than how people will ultimately react. That's why I thought Tony was on target in his first post and while I understand where the innuendos are coming from, I suspect they don't help either. The simple fact is that whatever negatives we might learn about this or any other incident, or anything about the Psaltis character that's not positive, may untimately hurt Keller if it questions why he put his trust in the wrong person in the first place.