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MrsCC

Top Chef calls to rant about negative comments

93 posts in this topic

You know, I've worked for some very good Chefs, Swiss "Eidgenossiche Diplomierte" Chefs, which is, I believe, Switzerlands's top credential for Chefs. Worked under two of them after my apprenticeship, and was taught by one during my apprenticeship when I went to shool one day of the week. I addressed these men as "Herr Elsenbast, Herr Gothuey, Herr Lichtenberger", as did all of the other staff including hotel owners and clients.

I still squirm when I hear "Chef Smith"....

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I am absolutely flabbergasted that a Chef would behave like this! How very unprofessional!

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I am absolutely flabbergasted that a Chef would behave like this! How very unprofessional!

And posting this fact (about the chef calling) isn't unprofessional?!

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And posting this fact (about the chef calling) isn't unprofessional?!

Happy to be corrected but I hadnt thought the Critical Couple were professionals.


John Hartley

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I am absolutely flabbergasted that a Chef would behave like this! How very unprofessional!

And posting this fact (about the chef calling) isn't unprofessional?!

Isn't the idea behind blogs and the boards that it gives is non-professionals a voice? Information isn't filtered which is a major strength (and also a weakness) as the non-professional doesn't need to kowtow to the catering professionals. New media, means new behavioural norms, the private "rant" now becomes very public. Some chefs (including those on this board) are adept at using this new media to get closer to the public and the symbiotic relationship seems to benefit all, but as the public is a fickle beast then due care must be exercised.

I value posts and blogs that demonstrate a critical distance from the restaurant. Reports that are always positive have no value to me as I don't believe anyone can have that much luck with restaurants and I am suspicious critical facilities are dulled by comped PR meals for bloggers.

So should the CC have posted/blogged this? Of course they should it shows they proceed without fear nor favour.

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I am absolutely flabbergasted that a Chef would behave like this! How very unprofessional!

And posting this fact (about the chef calling) isn't unprofessional?!

Isn't the idea behind blogs and the boards that it gives is non-professionals a voice? Information isn't filtered which is a major strength (and also a weakness) as the non-professional doesn't need to kowtow to the catering professionals. New media, means new behavioural norms, the private "rant" now becomes very public. Some chefs (including those on this board) are adept at using this new media to get closer to the public and the symbiotic relationship seems to benefit all, but as the public is a fickle beast then due care must be exercised.

I value posts and blogs that demonstrate a critical distance from the restaurant. Reports that are always positive have no value to me as I don't believe anyone can have that much luck with restaurants and I am suspicious critical facilities are dulled by comped PR meals for bloggers.

So should the CC have posted/blogged this? Of course they should it shows they proceed without fear nor favour.

Yeah, I agree with this for the most part, it's a totally valid point.

The issue for me is, when chefs do use social media it is a direct communication; specifically through this medium. The problem with the CC is Marcus made a personal call and then they converted it by way of a post. That's very different. Had he responded openly, via one of the foodie message boards, I'd agree 100%.

There's also a difference between a report being critical, as opposed to objective. I personally don't think the CC were objective with the review, which is why - in turn - it makes their criticisms so difficult to accept.

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Afraid I disagree. Once a call touches on business (such as the OP's review of the restaurant) it ceases being a personal call and becomes a business call. This is in line with every company policy -I- ever heard of, anyway.

Out of curiosity, what points raised in the OP's review do you think were not objective?


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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We only know one side of the conversation, and not much of that, either. My objection to this is the fact that the chef most likely has no knowledge that the CC were making it known far and wide that they received this call. No one likes to be blindsided and no one should. In my opinion, true professionals do not behave like spoiled children stamping their feet and saying "look what bad things have been said about me". In this thread, we have the CC making their experience known and the chef taking exception to that (first tantrum), and then the CC have a tantrum by saying "the chef spoke rudely to me, wahh!" I 'm not suggesting that we all behave perfectly all the time, but when we behave badly, do we have to shine s spotlight on it and keep probing the wound? Do you want your mistakes at work to be broadcast far and wide?

Mrs CC should have informed the caller that she would be making the call known to the public; and included a transcript (OK, I'm being pedantic about this); but the bottom line is that they blogged about their experience, the chef called to discuss it and we only know what Mrs CC wants us to know about this call. What's the motive behind that? I can't find a shred of professionalism in that action and this action (posting about the call) from Mrs CC is equally as unprofessional and childish as what she claims Chef Wareing's behavior was during the phone call.

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I havent posted in quite some time. I am a professional chef and wanted to share a few thoughts.

Whether you wanted to or not, this exchange and subsequent posting(s) have altered your relationship with the restaurant forever. If you value those relationships as much as you state on your blog, why not wait and give the management time to resolve the issues. It seems this has brought several new readers to your blog. I hope that wasnt the intention.

I can tell you as someone who has paid their mortgage with what is left in the till at the end of the month, that blogs and reviews are seriuos , professional and casual. You, whether you want to or not, are affecting peoples lives and livelihood. I know the argument of your money being valuable as well. But you have stirred anti sentiment with a very non professional review that may eclipse your 600 euro mark by 10s of thousands.

The review itself is very condescending from my professional opinion. I believe we have all become way too cavalier with our words.

If you really want to help the next restaurant that underdelivers, that has potential to, write or email them directly instead of posting on the blog. I can tell you that honest feedback is always listened to.

The fact that Eater picked this story up and is blasting it on email alert is saddening. In a profession that is supposed to be about pleasure and happiness, this whole mess reeks of miscommunication and self importance. I hope eater doesnt publish your names in their next email blast.

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Afraid I disagree. Once a call touches on business (such as the OP's review of the restaurant) it ceases being a personal call and becomes a business call. This is in line with every company policy -I- ever heard of, anyway.

Out of curiosity, what points raised in the OP's review do you think were not objective?

Dakki - my thoughts on the review, including its objectivity, are in my first post on this subject at the top of the page (2).

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Marcus - interesting stuff, dude. I don't really see anything that would put the objectivity of the review in doubt, just your unjustified opinion that Mr. Waring deserves our undying admiration and those who dare criticize him are simply philistines. Thus my query.

Dragonflychef - I understand your and Mr Waring's frustration with the negative review and wish to suggest that this should have been dealt with constructively, as a source of information on the things that might be improved in his establishment. The fact that he preferred to attack the reviewer rather than the problem areas speaks volumes about his attitude towards the business and his customers. That's the most diplomatic way I can put it.

Speaking as someone who runs a small business completely unrelated to the hospitality business, I find this whole thing beyond belief. Maybe my industry as a whole has a different attitude towards unsatisfied customers. I honestly don't know.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Marcus - interesting stuff, dude. I don't really see anything that would put the objectivity of the review in doubt, just your unjustified opinion that Mr. Waring deserves our undying admiration and those who dare criticize him are simply philistines. Thus my query.

I've said enough in this thread now and don't want to continually contribute to bumping it up the index. However, I do take issue with that comment Dakki. At no point (in any post) did I say Marcus deserves our 'undying attention' and, more to the point, suggest the CC are philistines. I may disagree with their opinions and actions surrounding this matter, but I certainly don't think them that.


Edited by marcusjames (log)

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You can read the Eater coverage here. Their questions:

Was there a better way to handle this situation? Yes, absolutely. Why would a big-name chef get so angry about a single blog post, and how much power is he giving bloggers by doing so? How about the fact that Wareing possibly abused the reservation system to acquire their phone number? And in what way is a negative restaurant review analogous to poor fashion choices?

We've reached out to Wareing and the restaurant for comment and will update when we hear back.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Maybe he called to complain about the appalling way the original review was written. It's so pedantic and over-written as to come across as a spoof.

It's odd how bloggers and tweeters act all surprised when companies actually contact them (or respond to blog-posts) to counter arguments. Used to be commmon practice in a place where I worked that negative letters in the press would be followed by a visit to the complainer in person. Which was always fun.


It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Maybe he called to complain about the appalling way the original review was written. It's so pedantic and over-written as to come across as a spoof.

Oh come on Bertie, you cannot be serious...Shakespeare it is not but the criticisms were pretty mild..and as for pedantic and over written,check out AA Gill and Mr Coren or the King of Pomposity himself, the one and only Jay Rayner.

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What a lot of people here do not know is that these bloggers tried to make a big splash on another website dedicated to food. They posted at least 5 reviews of London restaurants and all ended with an advertisement for their blog. Fair enough, and you can accuse me of being cynical and skeptical about their true motives now making this fuss about Marcus Wareing and his behaviour. I think they are publicity seekers of the worst type.

I think by drawing out this thread, we are probably feeding their egos even more.

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We've read the review and come to a few conclusions based on the 3 pages of responses.

Firstly, writing a restaurant review on a blog is different from a restaurant critic printing their weekly column in the weekend paper. Mainly because most blogs will give you a right of reply, it's called "COMMENTS". Chefs have bemoaned the fact that they never had this with the printed media & now they have it, this happens.

We do a series of restaurant reviews called 'Cheaper Eats', generally eating in Michelin star places for in or around £30. We mention this as we did Bohemia on Jersey during the summer. Shaun Rankin even tweeted about us coming, and was in the kitchen at the time. The meal upto & including the main course was outstanding, easily 2rising star. After that Oh dear. We tweeted & posted the review, and offered the Bohemia team a right of reply ~ Nothing.

Yes, we have no idea of the tone of language used by Mr Wareing or if it actually happened at all. As has been said above by others this discussion is driving traffic to a blog, cynical or not, it is happening. If it did happen as reported, just imagine what it was like in his kitchen. These are tough places where brutal actions & language are used generally.

As a review it's self, yes it's not great,

The Cornish seabass that came next was perfectly cooked and totally beautiful.
. What was it with?, why was it great? what were the flavour combinations? It's a little bit lacking to be of any use as a review. The reviewers also bemoan the fact that Mr Wareing has changed the menu very little in the past 12 months. Ever been to the Fat Duck? The most common complaint we hear about the Fat Duck is that the menu hasn't change to any great degree in nearly 2 years. Not that the tables are too close together or that the staff dragging a wooden bench around the room is irritating, no it's the menu. So it's a mute point.

We're not for one minute going to excuse Mr Wareing's alleged actions, but quite frankly it all seems a little bit of a storm in a tea cup.


The Chef Hermes blog

Can be followed on Twitter: @chefhermes

Or Facebook:Chef Hermes group page

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Wow, there seem to be a lot of people overreacting here. Anyone heard of free speech? The OP's review seems perfectly in-line with this, and come on guys it's not that harsh!

Also, although it is true that some blogs can have a huge impact on the world and thus could potentially inflate or damage a restaurant's reputation, you should remember that everybody and their friend has a blog now, and not all of them make such waves. And as evidenced from this thread, not all the people who read the blog will agree with it anyway, so I think it's a tad over the top to suggest that it's going to ruin the restaurant!

Oh, and whether or not the OP is just shilling their blog by posting here, it doesn’t really change the fact that Marcus Wareing made a poor judgement here.

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What a lot of people here do not know is that these bloggers tried to make a big splash on another website dedicated to food. They posted at least 5 reviews of London restaurants and all ended with an advertisement for their blog.

I'm unsure what you perceive to be the issue here.

A blogger decides to make a contribution on two discussion boards? Well, shock horror at that.

A blogger includes a link to their blog so folk can view a more extensive review and see the piccies? What on earth is wrong with that? The fact they are "advertising" their blog? Well, let's face it a number of posters here include a link to their blogs or other websites in their "signature" - so they advertise their blog on every post they make. I have yet to see someone complain about that - and why would they? Are we not all grown-ups?


John Hartley

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I may get flamed. In this era of entire fiefdoms built on air, I don't think we need more energy swirling around the insubstantial. We must go to the thing itself, and ask questions accordingly.

I find the review vapid. Based on what I have seen, I can't help but taste self-seeking, on the back of someone's honorable work. The private conversation he allegedly had should have remained just that, a private conversation; if things took place as they did, while I don't condone his behavior, I have to admit I understand it. I cannot support both the original blog itself - beyond its lack on the merits, as many have said, if the desire was a corrective, this scattershot was no way to achieve it - as well as the mushrooming publicity engine seemingly sought, perhaps from the beginning, since.


Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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What a lot of people here do not know is that these bloggers tried to make a big splash on another website dedicated to food. They posted at least 5 reviews of London restaurants and all ended with an advertisement for their blog.

I'm unsure what you perceive to be the issue here.

A blogger decides to make a contribution on two discussion boards? Well, shock horror at that.

A blogger includes a link to their blog so folk can view a more extensive review and see the piccies? What on earth is wrong with that? The fact they are "advertising" their blog? Well, let's face it a number of posters here include a link to their blogs or other websites in their "signature" - so they advertise their blog on every post they make. I have yet to see someone complain about that - and why would they? Are we not all grown-ups?

Well put John. I am finding it quite weird that people are criticising links to blogs. It has been common practice since I started reading the boards. Some are good, some are bad. It is me prerogative to click the link or not. I can't see it as self promotion, it is simply how things work these days.

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From the Guardian piece linked upthread:

A journalist can pretend to be just a customer and a customer, these days, can express their opinion as if they were a journalist - but it's difficult to claim to be both, simultaneously with any degree of credibility.

Here is what I find a bit off-putting. The OP wants to eat their cake and have it too. They want to post their opinions like a journalist, but when they are called out for them they want to retreat to the customer mode and be horrified that they would be held to account. They want to pal around with the chef, but insist that he not take the sort of offense that he certainly should if a friend publicly ripped into his restaurant because a perfect storm of staff absences lead to an off night.

Yes, perhaps the review is far from scathing to the naked eye, but I can't conceive of an honest reason for it to have been published. There is an agenda here, to be certain. If the previous 6 visits had all been exemplary, the aberration should have been handled in private baring an indication of a pattern of descent.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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If the previous 6 visits had all been exemplary, the aberration should have been handled in private baring an indication of a pattern of descent.

The OP did say in a subsequent post that they had tried to deal with it that night and had not been successfull.

We did discuss it with the maitre d before leaving but he failed to address any of our concerns.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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