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robert40

Doug Psaltis

532 posts in this topic

Hey Steve..if Doug is your friend and his brother your agent, you should have made that clear at the start...or recused yourself from the discussion.

Your defense of him is much misplaced as are your excuses for the very bad meal at Beard. The fault, dear Steven, lay not with the kitchen equipment but with the mindless creations of the chef whom seems to be taste-blind.

Mimi, that's truly uncalled for. Steven has on multiple occasions disclosed his relationship with the Psaltises, on just about every thread on this site where their names are mentioned. Its not exactly a state secret.

A bad meal however, is what it is. Plenty of good and talented chefs have served them, including the ones that were at the top of their game during your tenure at the Times. Per Se doesn't exactly have a .400 batting average when it comes to dishes that "work" either. So the dishes didn't work that night. Shit happens.

I've had Psaltis's food during his tenure at Mix. I enjoyed it. Certainly, one doesn't end up as a sous chef and chef de cuisine at Alain Ducasse's restaurants if he was unskilled or untalented. It just doesn't compute.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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will say that after this memoir, I wonder if there will be anything else that might be written now or in the future that has the power to cause such a tempest in a teapot.

Something along the lines of the dark and evil secrets of Julia and Paul Child and their chamber of horrors might fit the bill.

Just kidding.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Hey Steve..if Doug is your friend and his brother your agent, you should have made that clear at the start...or recused yourself from the discussion.

Your defense of him is much misplaced as are your excuses for the very bad meal at Beard. The fault, dear Steven, lay not with the kitchen equipment but with the mindless creations of the chef whom seems to be taste-blind.

Mimi,

What is your theory on why Psaltis keeps getting these plum jobs when he is "mindless" and "taste blind"? How is he hoodwinking all of these top chefs?

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Heretofore, I had a lot of respect for Mimi Sheraton A good friend of mine worked closely with her on publicity for her book. But wow, who knew there was such mean spiritedness in the woman?

I don't understand the degree to which the "old guard" (old, not in years, but in stature) gets so worked up about a midcareer chef commenting about his experiences. If he's so off the mark, then dismiss him and let it go. But geez, this is weird.

Going to Country Wednesday night; will report back on the appropriate thread.

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The other day a French chef that I know who is well connected with a few of the top French chefs in NY was ranting and raving about how he would never read Kitchen Confidential because this Anthony Bourdain person was a nobody. I told him he should read the book and then make a judgment. I said, who cares if he didn't work for Guérard, he spoke for the corps de ballet of the kitchen, not the principal dancers.

When Kitchen Confidential came out, a lot of people were saying exactly what that French chef was saying. I clearly recall arguing that the book was not about offending his fellow chefs or destroying the local scene and profession (as they were claiming) as much as telling it like it was.

Today some of those very people not only love the book, but are friends with Bourdain. And let's not forget even Amanda Hesser, who was so critical of AB when KC came out, now dines with the man.

All this to say, the Psaltis thing will blow over. The boy can cook circles around everyone who has posted critically on this thread. I don’t see any of them opening restaurants or cooking in the lousy Beard kitchen. You don't earn Ducasse's respect for nothing. I don’t care how he cooked at some freebie function for food writers. The man has worked his ass off. Let's give him that.

And as for the people who claim this book is poorly written, I’ll tell you, I have had to review several food personality and restaurant critic memoirs (including one written by a critical poster on this thread) and we’re -- usually -- not talking Proust there either.


Edited by Lesley C (log)

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Speaking for myself I never at any point doubted Psaltis cooking ability! There is absolutely no question in my mind he is capable of cooking a outstanding meal.

There is no evidence in this thread or anywhere showing otherwise.

For instance what is questionable is the cook in charge of toasting the pumpkin seeds...Did he put his best foot forward to the best of his ability to do an ever so little part to put chef in the best possilble light? Or did he mumble under his breath sure I'll toast your dam pumpkin seeds alright?

Contrary to belief by so many a chef at that level is not cooking your food in the first place. He is implemating his vision hopefully to a dedicated staff supporting him. The greatest cook in the world cannot make a restaurant function without the support of the staff behind him.

Management and people skills are what may be questionable in this case in my opinion. Not cooking skills.


Robert R

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This thread is starting to drift rapidly away from its orignial intent. We can talk about the book, we can talk about Psaltis. The fact that Psaltis cooked at the Beard House is certainly a valid topic, but not necessarily in the context of this thread.

It's starting to get personal here, and that we can't have. Let's refocus on the topic at hand.

Thanks.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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My only apology goes to Steve. Somehow I missed prior references to Psaltis as a friend and, perhaps, also to his brother as an agent.

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Hey Steve..if Doug is your friend and his brother your agent, you should have made that clear at the start...or recused yourself from the discussion.

Your defense of him is much misplaced as are your excuses for the very bad meal at Beard. The fault, dear Steven, lay not with the kitchen equipment but with the mindless creations of the chef whom seems to be taste-blind.

Mimi,

What is your theory on why Psaltis keeps getting these plum jobs when he is "mindless" and "taste blind"? How is he hoodwinking all of these top chefs?

I am wondering about that myself. Had I the time - and perhaps even if I don't - it might be worth researching. First stop would be at Country to taste the food there.

It is one thing for a chef to look good when he or she is following the style and precepts of an executive chef who sets the tone --i.e. Ducasse, Keller, etc. Quite another when he is given carte blanche to create on his and, God help us, freely express himself. That's where the rubber hits the road.

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The other day a French chef that I know who is well connected with a few of the top French chefs in NY was ranting and raving about how he would never read Kitchen Confidential because this Anthony Bourdain person was a nobody. I told him he should read the book and then make a judgment. I said, who cares if he didn't work for Guérard, he spoke for the corps de ballet of the kitchen, not the principal dancers.

When Kitchen Confidential came out, a lot of people were saying exactly what that French chef was saying. I clearly recall arguing that the book was not about offending his fellow chefs or destroying the local scene and profession (as they were claiming) as much as telling it like it was.

Today some of those very people not only love the book, but are friends with Bourdain. And let's not forget even Amanda Hesser, who was so critical of AB when KC came out, now dines with the man.

All this to say, the Psaltis thing will blow over. The boy can cook circles around everyone who has posted critically on this thread. I don’t see any of them opening restaurants or cooking in the lousy Beard kitchen. You don't earn Ducasse's respect for nothing. I don’t care how he cooked at some freebie function for food writers. The man has worked his ass off. Let's give him that.

And as for the people who claim this book is poorly written, I’ll tell you, I have had to review several food personality and restaurant critic memoirs (including one

written by a critical poster on this thread) and we’re -- usually -- not talking Proust there either.

It wasn't a freebie. It cost $85 per person. And why wouldn't you care how he cooked? Or his cooking ability irrelevant?

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The other day a French chef that I know who is well connected with a few of the top French chefs in NY was ranting and raving about how he would never read Kitchen Confidential because this Anthony Bourdain person was a nobody. I told him he should read the book and then make a judgment. I said, who cares if he didn't work for Guérard, he spoke for the corps de ballet of the kitchen, not the principal dancers.

When Kitchen Confidential came out, a lot of people were saying exactly what that French chef was saying. I clearly recall arguing that the book was not about offending his fellow chefs or destroying the local scene and profession (as they were claiming) as much as telling it like it was.

Today some of those very people not only love the book, but are friends with Bourdain. And let's not forget even Amanda Hesser, who was so critical of AB when KC came out, now dines with the man.

All this to say, the Psaltis thing will blow over. The boy can cook circles around everyone who has posted critically on this thread. I don’t see any of them opening restaurants or cooking in the lousy Beard kitchen. You don't earn Ducasse's respect for nothing. I don’t care how he cooked at some freebie function for food writers. The man has worked his ass off. Let's give him that.

And as for the people who claim this book is poorly written, I’ll tell you, I have had to review several food personality and restaurant critic memoirs (including one written by a critical poster on this thread) and we’re -- usually -- not talking Proust there either.

I don't really understand this Bourdain comparison. Bourdain surely never won anyone over because it turned out he could cook. He won people over because it turned out that he was a very good writer (with a good ear for kitchen patois) and he had a very likable sense of humor and self-depreciation (none of these things applies to Psaltis). He also was never claiming to be a world-class chef and basically dropped out of being a full-time chef to become a writer/media figure, whereas Psaltis is obviously still doing the chef thing (or hoping to). I don't see how the two situations match up at all.

Psaltis may well end up a great chef (I haven't eaten his food, although I have heard very dreary things about Country thus far), but I don't think anyone is going to change their mind about the book...we'll see about the chef thing.

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And why wouldn't you care how he cooked? Or his cooking ability irrelevant?

Given his credentials, I don't doubt his cooking ability. Unless all those star chefs who had him on the line were just doing him a favour. As for the $85, did you ask for your money back?

I don't really understand this Bourdain comparison.

My point was he rocked the boat when his book came out and -- obviously -- Psaltis has as well. A lot of people were angry about that book too and now Mr. B is the darling of the foodie set.

As for Psaltis, who knows what will happen. But having re-read the book this weekend, I'll tell you, I still don't get what all the fuss is about. And I have noticed that many of the people who enjoyed the book on this thread are A) not friends with the star chefs mentioned and/or B) chefs themselves.

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It is one thing for a chef to look good when he or she is following the style and precepts of an executive chef who sets the tone --i.e. Ducasse, Keller, etc. Quite another when he is given carte blanche to create on his and, God help us, freely express himself.  That's where the rubber hits the road.

Well said.

Wow.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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He won people over because it turned out that he was a very good writer

Yeap...Bourdain can write and is fun to read and he never poked fun at anyone's cooking abilities (not even Emeril or Flay, he called them names but NEVER said they cannot cook). Psaltis is "hopefully" a better cook than writer. Only time will tell I guess.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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My point was he rocked the boat when his book came out and -- obviously -- Psaltis has as well. A lot of people were angry about that book too and now Mr. B is the darling of the foodie set.

Never once when reading KC, did I think that Bourdain saw himself as better than anyone else, or that he didn't love the industry or respect others. He also didn't come across as too good for anything that he was doing. I don't think you can write like that unless you feel it.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I think the question of the chef's integrity as a writer has been pretty well discussed. After fifteen pages, I'm getting bored with those issues, and I hope that any further posting on those issues will include new information. This discussion is beginning to consume it's own tail.

It's good to know that the information presented is of dubious veracity, but I agree with other posters here that it's hardly the beginning of a warehouse fire. In fact, I consider it an affront to any intelligent reader that posters here assume the rest of us have never read a politico-autobio or similar work that requires a little mental seasoning with our own grains of salt.

I am also amazed, and as a forum host somewhat flattered, by the constant presumption of conspiracy. :rolleyes: This is a culinary site, and a site focused on Arts & Letters. And here we have a recently published culinary book. I feel it qualifies as eGullet news, as did the posters who started this thread. So what if there's a relationship between the ED and the author? The nature of eGullet is that we'll probably all end up knowing each other anyway. What's the point of this whole argument? Was someone's submission rejected by the Daily Gullet staff in favor of the Psaltis book? Is there another culinary book of burning immediacy that should have been featured this month? Is there resentment that both Shaw and Psaltis have had books released within a month of each other? Somehow I can't see them churning out a book every two months, so I'm sure the Daily Gullet will be turning to other material soon. If I submit a piece on wine, will I get bashed for being a staff member?

I would also like to point out that with the success of Bourdain's and Ruhlman's books, there will undoubtedly be a surge of BOHbios in the next few years. They won't be original, they probably won't be accurate, and they may even be spiteful. Better save some of your energy.

I didn't find the excerpts all that thrilling, as the voice of Psaltis' writing simply did not appeal to me, but after all this fuss I have ordered the book out of sheer contrariness. (To be fair, I have just come off a Bourdain reading jag, and I am always impressed by his ability to spread his soul on paper. It's a rare quality.)

Those who said they have read and enjoyed the book have not said why, really, except that it was interesting. Were there funny anecdotes? Kitchen insights not included in previous chef autobios? Such as? Did each chapter have a point or lesson, or did the structure of the book just sort of ramble? Was there any sense of suspense, adventure, or discovery?

I notice the book has no reviews on Barnesandnoble.com or Booksamillion.com. There are two reviews on Amazon.com, both by posters who have just that one post on their record. :hmmm:


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i hate to nitpick

but the comparison between bourdain and psaltis strikes me as a bit strained

bourdain was at a mature point of his career

having successfully managed, operated a popular well reviewed restaurant and wrote a tell all about HIMSELF

psaltis has not demonstrated his ability to successfully operate an establishment in any capacity, sous chef, chef de cuisine, executive chef, let alone chef/partner or proprietor, and wrote a tell all about OTHERS

personally i find some of psaltis allegations questionable, having been in the kitchens in question at the times alleged, but more importantly i find them foolish. unless the plan is to form a literary career, in which case, what a shitstorm of publicity.

i appreciate bux's comments in many ways, and it forced me to reconsider my first reactions to the reactions.

the sad truth is, that the allegations are irrelevant, his goose is cooked, and coming from someone who has hanged himself with any rope give him, i wish him well.

further, with regards to chef's circling the wagons, lets have a little perspective. the chef critic relationship is a delicate balance, and embedding oneself in the chef capacity to be commercially viable as a critic is behavior that i find disturbing.

tell all about yourself. what are the personal struggles that prevented you from acheiving what you dream. i am outraged that someone who made physical contact with an employee in a restaurant should be able to overlook this egregrious misconduct in the name of the dollar.

but what the hell do i know, im sure ill be seeing psaltis myself at the end of the boulevard of broken dreams

wg

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The boy can cook circles around everyone who has posted critically on this thread.

Hey! I must have missed the cook-off. You haven't seen me cook. Or... have you? :hmmm:

I like what akwa said here:

psaltis has not demonstrated his ability to successfully operate an establishment in any capacity, sous chef, chef de cuisine, executive chef, let alone chef/partner or proprietor, and wrote a tell all about OTHERS

Yep, that's the difference.

Question: Anyone out there going or not going to Country based on this thread? Anyone want to or not want to work for Psaltis based on what they've read here?


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I've been trying to stay out of this for a few days now but...

See, the above post about ""who's going or NOT going to Country based""... really is annoying.

It smacks of gang-ish mentality, the whole 'jury by internet' junk that ruins this medium for many of us.

And seconding anybodys cred because of cranky 'how dare they' posts ... I mean, that's cool?

This thread was started with seeming innocence, lay dorment for two or four days and then exploded into tittilation and innuendo and, for anyone who didn't read the book itself, ignorance.

Somebody above thread here said none of us who have enjoyed the book really explained why.

As a cook, a chef myself, somebody who came into this life as a second career, it gave me some perspective, for one thing.

Being in this business can isolate the hell out of you, you constantly ask yourself if it's worth it, etc.

Outside of NYC, is everyone really getting together to talk about cooking?

About what's going on?

Christ, I hardly ever hear anyone in a kitchen talk about much besides pussy, drugs, internet porn, how poor they are and how the NFG sucks.

Which is fine but, why put down some guy who was trying to be as good as he could be?

Because he talked smack about Dan Barber?

Under a different name?

If Barber is as worked up about it as half of the posters here who haven't even READ THE BOOK, I'd be amazed.

And, hey, he knows where the guy works, .

Barber can call him a son of a bitch to his face, smack him, buy him a drink, whatever,he's a big boy.

Guarantee you less people have read the Dan Barber (Peter) chapter then have read this thread.

Talking about the book

I don't consider it very well written.

If fact, after reading the first chapter or perhaps two, I cut right to the stuff where he starts stage-ing anywhere he can in the city on his days off.

What can I say, it spoke to me.

It's about achievements, it's about standing up to the incessent badgering and screaming of intense assed French chefs, who can make tons of people run for the hills.

Were there points, lessons?

Yes.

I suppose, in roundabout ways.

The chapter in Psaltis' book on The Ducasse/Chowdorow/Mix adventure reminded me much of the "Pino Noir:Tuscan Interlude" chapter in 'Kitchen Confidential'

I mean, there's so much lying and bullshitting and promises made to people, really talented people all of the time in this business, and I would say Psaltis learned a lot about the old adage "Money Talks, Bullshit Walks".

And like a lot of others before him, he probably walked away from some surely good gigs, and obviously made the mistake of walking into some "not meant for him situations" too.

I also have to agree with Lesley C, I've read this thing numerous times now, and still can't see what the fuss is about.

And sorry, Bourdain had everybodys butt up in a snoot when KC came out, that was half of the fun of it, and the truth of it.

Not that it really bothered me but, IMO, calling a chef an EWOK is not exactly endearing, nor is scoffing "at the foam guys", which, given the time and what has transpired since with Bourdains (unreleased?) documentary on "the foam guys" ,'Decoding Ferran Adria', was clearly uninformed and basically,talking smack about someones cuisine he hadn't even yet sampled.

Did he make amends in the show?

Say, "Hey Chef, just have to tell you, when I was writing my Kitchen Confidential book, I sat around with this pretty talented chef I was writing a chapter about, and poked fun at you and your brothers FOAM tricks, hope you understand".

Doubtful, and I don't hate him for it.

Bourdain is a massively more charming person, writer, human being probably but Keith Richards or Gordon Ramsey are too, in my book.

I DO agree with akwa, in that if Psaltis could have found it within himself to talk about being enraged, "kicking peoples asses', smacking waiters, it would have been more compelling, certainly more passionate but, does Ramsey or Marco Pierre White or any of these chefs with a rep, really go into how they're tearing up people in kitchens in their cookbooks, or whatever???

It's what they do, it would be like talking about a bowel movement to them, less interesting, probably.

And akwa, we'll ALL probably be seeing each other at the end of that particular blvd.

I'm out


2317/5000

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hey tan

i hear you loud and clear

with regards to the comparison with marco and gordon ramsey

both make points of proving their bad temperament, in fact they both actively sell it

as well they both have acheived three michelin stars

when i get three stars you can call me for all the crap on everyone i know

but i hope ill stop having cared enough about the shortcomings of others to tell it

seacrest out

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I've been trying to stay out of this for a few days now but...

See, the above post about ""who's going or NOT going to Country based""... really is annoying.

It smacks of gang-ish mentality, the whole 'jury by internet' junk that ruins this medium for many of us.

Yo.

In my mind, it's no different from "who's going to buy the book because of this thread" that was asked earlier. I am curious, not being snarky. And it's a valid question to be posed here. Me, I have only so much time to eat in the city and Country wouldn't even be on my radar except for this thread (and the book). Same goes for Bourdain and Les Halles.

I don't DO gangs, in the street or otherwise. And it was never my intention to ruin the internet for anyone, except my teenaged sons (didn't work).


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I've been trying to stay out of this for a few days now but...

See, the above post about ""who's going or NOT going to Country based""... really is annoying.

It smacks of gang-ish mentality, the whole 'jury by internet' junk that ruins this medium for many of us.

Yo.

In my mind, it's no different from "who's going to buy the book because of this thread" that was asked earlier. I am curious, not being snarky. And it's a valid question to be posed here. Me, I have only so much time to eat in the city and Country wouldn't even be on my radar except for this thread (and the book). Same goes for Bourdain and Les Halles.

I don't DO gangs, in the street or otherwise. And it was never my intention to ruin the internet for anyone, except my teenaged sons (didn't work).

I would give Country awhile to work out the kinks IF I was really that interested.

Not that it's Psaltis's restaurant to run .

I always enjoyed Les Halles, pre KC days & post.


2317/5000

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Why dont you media types move on to the next "big thing".

How come Ruhlman, Bourdain, Bux, Mimi, Gras's wife, shaw and the rest of you (the "Media Types") have no thread about Chowdrow and how he has sued at least two of his partners/chef's in the last two years. This is news in the industry and in the papers. I mean this guy is the biggest restaurateur we know and he is suing chef's on a semi-regular basis. Are you Media Types scared of Chowdrow. Dont want to upset him? Maybe cause Gras wife then wouldnt be able to get an interview.

At the very least, you all need to go to Country and post about the food. As everyone has pointed out, Psaltis does not own a place or run a place, he simply runs the kitchen so lets judge him on that. If the food sucks, lets write about it, if its great, lets write about it. Right now, there are only about 15 posts under the Country heading. Lets stop pretending you all read the book (because from many of the posts its clear you have not) and review this kid on the merits and what were all here for......food.

Rocket

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How come...no thread about Chowdrow and how he has sued at least two of his partners/chef's in the last two years.   This is news in the industry and in the papers. I mean this guy is the biggest restaurateur we know and he is suing chef's on a semi-regular basis.

Rocket - that sounds like an interesting thread - maybe you could start it, if you have an article to spring off of? I'd be interested!


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

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At the very least, you all need to go to Country and post about the food.   Right now, there are only about 15 posts under the Country heading.

Excellent point, rocketman.

How come Ruhlman, Bourdain, Bux, Mimi, Gras's wife, shaw and the rest of you (the "Media Types") have no thread about Chowdrow and how he has sued at least two of his partners/chef's in the last two years.   This is news in the industry and in the papers. I mean this guy is the biggest restaurateur we know and he is suing chef's on a semi-regular basis.   Are you Media Types scared of Chowdrow. Dont want to upset him?  Maybe cause Gras wife then wouldnt be able to get an interview.

Greetings and welome to eGullet. Members are welcome to start threads on any item of interest. Although there has been a little discussion about this in the Rocco DiSpirito threads, I don't think there is a full discussion and a separate thread yet. Please feel free to start one.

Edited for bloopers.


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