Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Read Pete Wells at Night... with no pants on

Over the last 12 hours, every one has read Pete Wells' review of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar. I first caught the review from Kat Kinsman's tweet containing a list of her favorite take downs. Then, Papa Drew blasted it to every one with a restaurant in NYC sans-BCC which was extra entertaining since I'm pretty sure every one on the email from Emeril to Tony to Daniel Boulud was reading it with no pants on at 1am... or at least I was.
But pants or no pants, we can't ignore the gravity of this review. I guarantee in 2 years, we will look back at this review and say "This was the moment." This was the moment where an essential voice in the food world went on the record and said fuck you food network, fuck you guy fieri, fuck this system of big box restaurants with Cheesecake Factory food propped up by people who can't cook. In a world where half these food writers take free meals in exchange for positive press, where people think yelp has any credence, LUCKILY, we have the NY Times. Thank fucking god for the New York Times because you can trust them. Do I think Michael White got the short end of the stick with the Nicoletta review? Yes. Do I think Danny Bowien is the cutest chef in NYC serving extreme amounts of salt in a myriad of metaphysical Chinese forms? Yes. But do I think the NYT is a source you can trust for honest reporting independent of the "industry"? Yes. It is the ONLY source I know of that you can trust for food critique INDEPENDENT with no strings attached.

*added these 2 paragraphs after reading some other reviews of review*

I've been reading a lot of reviews of Pete's review and just wanted to add this thought. This is a RICO case. We ALL knew Guy's restaurant would suck just like the Neely's sucked, just like every one in the hood knows who's running game. It's not a secret. THE MAN allows things to exist. Hustlers: from the dude with vials to Guy Fieri are ALLOWED to exist. You see them every day. You see vials on the street on the way to the train, you see billboards for the Food Network, Fieri, etc. We walk by every day hoping someone will stunt their money. And that's why I disagree with @wearyourfek (Foster Kramer) about how the article needed more advocacy, satire, or nuance. Why? These people don't deserve that. Liberals have such a problem shooting something in the face, but in life, that's what some things deserve. Guy Fieri doesn't deserve some nuanced, lightly complimentary, back handed critique.

He got exactly what he deserves, a shot in the face. And, it puts people on notice. It draws a line in the sand. ANYONE can get it. Why should the NY Times live in this vacuum only reviewing "industry" restaurants? Food needs to be democratized, but to have an efficient democracy, you need an educated populus. This review should be remembered as the moment we all recognized "Dumb Rappers Need Teaching". We THINK every one knows Guy Fieri sucks or that you should vote Obama, but every one does not know that my g. This was the ill McNulty moment when Wells finally indicted all the people who've been eating off the proliferation of hot trash. It tells us anybody can get it. If Justin Warner is gonna go all big hair and karmaloop clearance rack, this is a review of Do or Dine in 5 years. If I decide to watch bangbros 5 times a day instead of 3, this is a review of Baohaus next week. You push hot trash on the people, you will get dealt with, Scripps can't protect you from THE HAMMER. This indicted Fieri, Scripps, and anyone else opening some sort of celebrity Cheesecake Factory. Just Say No to Hot Trash America. #RICO

*this was the ending previously. it doesn't work anymore but its there cause i don't erase anything from the blog*

I feel this way as a cook, restaurant owner, gremlin, whatever the fuck I am. If we're friends, we're friends, but as a friend, I didn't sign on to support your food unless I really fuck with it and I don't expect you to support mine either unless you really fuck with it. When you shout someone out on twitter, interviews, shows, ect. you should mean it. People TRUST US. They spend money based on our recommendations. It's not nothing. Why can't chefs tell each other "hey dude, the turmeric in the catfish is different than last time?" I love when Andy Ricker comes to Baohaus and tells me that dude with the Cincinnati Reds hat totally flumboluxed the noodles. He is the best "friend" I have in food and I've improved as an owner/chef because he gives it to me straight. I want to tear out Raphael Brion's eyes for giving me that stupid Marcus Samuelsson Fameball Award but I get the irony on the surface even though I disagree. I'm pissed but it's well within his right and I talk to him about it. As an industry, if we kept it real with each other, developed thicker skin and told people what we really think we'd all be better.

The best thing that ever happened to me in my life was that Sifton review. I probably didn't respond the way he wanted, but he'll probably tell you I did the right thing. I speak with words, with video, and Baohaus, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stand behind a stove 60 hours a week. Who told every one that that's what a chef does by the way? Because I don't know one successful chef/owner with multiple restaurants that works the line 5 days a week. Why don't we dispel that myth? Why don't we tell people that's unrealistic given the sub-10% margins at most places? I want the new Lebron X's and I'm not getting them by standing behind the stove at a 500 square foot restaurant every day. I RESPECT the work line cooks do and did it for years, but I tell them all the time, you SHOULD want more for yourself. Would you tell Andy Warhol: A REAL ARTIST PAINTS, stand here 60 hours a week with a paint brush? Why can't we keep it real in food? Why do we constantly reinforce myths about this culture? If you can't stand by your work and need someone to protect you, life will disappoint you in other ways. People telling the truth are not your problem.

Whether you're a new food magazine or a cook or a yelper or a chef or a restaurant owner, don't take free meals for false praise, don't protect "friends", and keep it real on the job because you've CHOSEN to be part of this great culture. If you want to be friends, you want to be liked, and you just want every one to get along, be a customer. We need those. But if you choose to play, respect the game.

32 comments:

  1. If your point is that the NYT did an accurate review of a crap restaurant, fine. If your point is that there should be no outlet for my obese, retarded Wisconsin in-laws to go shove "appies" as they call them in their mouths, I disagree. I NEVER want to see people like that when I'm out and they need to go somewhere. I actually thank people like GF for providing them a place away from the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry, and I understand that there's a fair amount of facetiousness in what you're saying, but I hope you realize that the mere existence of places like this is the reason why our food culture is way worse than it could be. Working people across the world make awesome food, and IMO it's a shame that we're not democratizing what's going on in a lot of places. Food made well can change minds; the existence of lowbrow chains is only diluting our culture (and the people who exist in it) further.

      Delete
    2. I am a chef. I know why our culture sucks. Fat losers like my in-laws LOVE Guy Fieri. read the Today show comments. They like him better now t han they did yesterday. You will never get my mother-in-law to not shove a pile of shit food into her mouth and then lick every goddamned finger. She's disgusting, GF is disgusting, but they do need to exist b/c I DON'T want to be around people that are excited by a taco as big as your head.

      Delete
    3. But Marisa you're reinforcing the cause while condemning the effect. You're arguing that we need terrible food culture to have a place to stick people who have bought into terrible food culture. Its crazy. The fat losers you refer to are just pitiable wrecks who should be rehabilitated to degree possible, while we work to prevent the next generations from being raised and inculturated in the same way.

      People aren't born to be food monsters, food monsterism is learned.

      Delete
  2. I had a different reaction, feeling the review was rather predictable. I would have liked a more interesting angle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, I agree. I just didn't find it as funny and refreshing as everyone else around me seemed to. I agreed with everything in it, but I'd already agreed with it for years, and the packaging was a let down.

      Also, I think the jubilation here is a little unwarranted. (Although, Eddie's got a lot more reason to love seeing FN taken down a peg, so I get it.) I say that only because thinking the NYT is widely seen as a bastion is kind of like thinking that everyone knows you should vote for Obama. People who run in circles where Guy is lauded and Romney was their guy also tend to vilify the NYT. For those people who didn't already know Guy's food is awful, this will just read like another example of the paper's elitism. (To be perfectly clear: if that's elitism, than color me an elitist, I guess - just trying to illustrate why the message still won't get across to anyone else.) That's fine and all, at least people who agree got a good laugh, but I don't actually see it having any effect a couple of days from now.

      I'd be ok with being wrong here, though.

      Delete
    2. carly, thnx for comment. u make some really dope points. i do live in a vacuum even when pointing a finger at the vacuum hahaha. ny is some real mind fuck shit

      Delete
    3. Actually, funniest thing for real in this whole conversation was Guy accusing Wells of "trying to make a name for himself," because really, who's ever heard of the NYT's food critic.

      http://gawker.com/5960823/guy-fieri-thinks-times-restaurant-critic-pete-wells-has-it-in-for-him-it-really-seemed-like-there-was-another-agenda?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_twitter&utm_source=gawker_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

      Delete
  3. i don't care what anyone says. but i truly love the way EH has with the pen and tongue. Love his Vice series- i want that speed beetle. Damn ,he is funny,smart,savvy,orlandish, , and I being a les jewgayboy, i totally appreciate his way with words, style, etcetera ,yogibearera. and more.
    Yup, i am an oldster. a person who smokes, eats,creates,etc,.
    so, yes, It's great we have Barack back 4 4 mo years. stay smart,eat good, and whatever your dreams may be,may they come true..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you probably enjoyed the part where he eats the waffle w/chocolate sauce a little too much as well

      Delete
  4. Listen, I am not a foodie. I don't live in NYC. I can't afford to eat in most places that are 'reviewed'. I cook for my family. I do an okay job with the budget I have. I could be better. I work so time constraints don't allow a lot prep.

    I used to like Fieri. DDD was an okay show for someone who 'don't get out much'. I think it's fair to say he hasn't allowed the food in the monstrosity in Times Square to scrathc the surface of the diner cook. And for me, he has become more and more cartoon over the years. I'm sure he always was. It gets sickening over time.

    To me this whole concept was something he bought into with backers and a promise of huge returns. Just sign here and let us use your name. We'll make millions. And when you are not taking an active role in the food and service, you get what you get. Did he spend six months in NYC making sure it delivered? Bet not. Never eaten at Tex Wasabi or johnny Garlic's. Betting the quality and service are much better there because he invested himself in them in the beginning. Whether or not the idea of those restaurants appeals or reflects quality, I have no doubt the food has a certain standard. Not Eric Ripert standard by any stretch but a level set for the price range.

    I may be totally off here but I feel like he let that giant ego of his get the better of him and didn't put in the sweat needed to launch something like that. My question is whether he has the balls to go in and bring it up to snuff (insert joke here) or if he'll leave others to try and fix what should not be so horribly broken already.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post: http://i.imgur.com/cNH1U.gif

    ReplyDelete
  6. My immediate reaction to this was pretty different from the mass group grope I saw from food writers and foodies. I thought it was absolutely self-serving of Pete Wells to write this piece, which reeked of a mind already made up. Pulling all the layers away, what's the difference between Guy Fieri putting his overblown name on a restaurant to make money and Pete Wells writing a sensationalist piece that diverges SHARPLY from the NYTimes food coverage of the last 20 years to draw readers?

    If the point here was to try to point us all towards a better path, then why not say that, instead of playing into the caricature of the NYTimes as a house of snark and elitism? Even an educated and insightful reader would have trouble reading between the layers of sarcasm to find the nugget here.

    The other problem I have here is that most of food world loves to take pot shots at Guy Fieri out of one side of the mouth, while extolling the virtues of small producers and local restaurants from the other side. Who in this country has done more to help small restaurants outside of NYC survive the onslaught of big boxers than Guy Fieri? It's no wonder that much of America loves him (as the NYTimes noted in its profile of him last year, I think)...he is shining a light on people's friends and neighbors, many of whom are struggling to keep their restaurants afloat in this atmosphere. In this sense, he is bringing people closer to their food and the people who make it than the NYTimes will ever be able to.

    I don’t say any of this to excuse Fieri. He can’t credibly stand behind the food at American Kitchen. He can’t really escape criticism about unhealthy food and obesity, etc. But Pete Wells, who is an amazing writer and important voice, is being held up as some kind of king among men in this situation. He deserves scrutiny too. And the funny thing is, both Fieri and Wells can hide behind their walls of safety (Fieri’s wealth and Wells’ platform) in the end. Both probably benefit from the attention, but the remaining question is whether we will all benefit from the discussion. Right now, it’s just a whole lot of drama and not a lot of substance.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ok so Pete Wells was a brave man for jumping on the "lets bash the food network" brand. Such a revered soul for being the one to tell the world something we already knew. Guy Fieri's restaurant is garbage.

    The real question to be asked is why did he even waste a review? Seriously, everyone in NYC will tell you they are the center of the dining world, yet this guy (Pete) is wasting a review at some TGI Fridays type place? He could of saved the review for a place deemed worthy but nah he wanted to be funny. So no dont feed me the BS that NYT is now the only dining guide I can trust. For what, comedy? Thats all his piece was.

    Why can I only trust someone who's dumb enough to dine at a place he already knows is going to be shit? This was a way for him to get more followers on twitter and become one with the food snobs of the world who judge everyone by their diet.

    Guy Fieri (Whom I dont really care for) has done more for good legit mom and pop shops around our country than this guy who goes and reviews restaurants that before theyre even open have spent half a million making it look pretty and promoting it.

    Yes thats what they did with this place he reviewed but I dont see any reviews for the other loads of crap in Times Square.

    And last but not least, if you or Pete's petty ass thinks this is going to do anything as far as making people realize that they dont have to eat the crap at Applebee's you're dead wrong. The excuse that he had to let folks visiting know not to go here is a load of bull.

    Right like the couple from Missouri who goes to Applebee's for Saturday nights out, Olive Garden for Valentines Day and Red Lobster for their anniversary crowd reads the New York Times...Who You Crappin'?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Some people like pickles but hate cucumbers. Why not try the food for yourself instead of trusting another persons taste buds???

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think the importance of this review is not in its tone, or how satirical or harsh it is, but on what it is actually critiquing. A restaurant GF just signed his name onto and walked away. That is what Wells' review is trying to bring to light. GF may be horrible, but he and the whole Food Network, Anthony Bourdain, National Foodie Marketing Committee created a movement (or something) and are now obviously trying to cash in big time. Which, by the way, I have nothing against. It's hard to make it big in the service industry. Take any shot yah got. But still there is some responsibility. Like it or not people listen to these 'celebrity chefs.' Listening to and following GF 'makes' one a 'foodie' and 'in the know' in many people's eyes. And Pete Wells was just letting everyone know that GF also has a bridge to sell them.

    Also lets stop this "middle american's like taco's as big as there heads so they can just f*ck off" nonsense. I'm sure there exists some incredible tacos as big as my head somewhere(maybe). Wells' point is that by attaching his name to this clusterf*ck people expect to find them in Flavortown. And they in fact can not. Furthermore if you dislike these people so much wouldn't it be better to give them 'good' food? To show even those who like gluttonous blue collar meals how truly exquisit it can be? Rather than what is apparently microwaved bullsh*t?

    People really think/thought that if they go to Flavortown they would be getting a world class dining experience BECAUSE it has Guy's name on it. Pete was just very clearly and honestly letting people know that that's just not the case. He is promoting free thought, and encouraging people to distance themselves from the marketing machine that Food Media has become.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Edd,

    Where do you personally reconcile this stance with your employ under Scripps-owned Cooking Channel?

    If the shows you participated in were taped a long time ago, understood, but not aware of that time frame.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Eddie Huang biting the feed that hands him. The culture that got gf where he is nowhere Eddie Huang is now.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, I got a kick out of this.

    I'm a chef w/35 years experience and I can't believe the crap people must eat. What I serve is honest, clean food....but hell, the way people talk, it's ""FANTASTIC"....GIVE ME A BREAK! mOST OF THE TIME IT'S REALLY GOOD BUT SHIT!, "FANTASTIC...i THINK NOT!

    D

    ReplyDelete
  13. @EMD @kenny how do I reconcile? I stopped working with them early this year is how it's reconciled. you guys have no idea what you're talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  14. TIMES SQUARE...let's get real. No restaurant of this size in the heart of Times Square is looking to compete for anything but the dollars of all the visitors who would venture towards Times Square. So why waste a review. It is no more a tourist attraction than is Times Square itself. It is offering nothing but employment to a lot of New Yorkers and if that alone plus the huge investment into Manhattan cannot make New Yorkers just a tad happier especially after Sandy and the onset of Xmas...then as a Montrealer who also hates the Food Network, wtf makes Manhattan happy. Fat Wall Street? He know he didn't open this resto to receive a Michelin Star; altho he probably didn't anticipate the pure unadultered hatred the NYTimes had for him. O stars for a restaurant that deserves 0 stars much like a Cheesecake Factory. It didn't deserve the time nor the energy of a review and the subsequent time spent spewing words out.

    It is and was always, for the intelligent food person, another advertising venture much like Michael Jordan did in Chicago and all the others like it.

    Just think outside the big box resto and its food and think how many people are employed for Christmas 2012 that weren't before.

    Then say thanks for the Manhattan investment.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I must also say that Guy Fieri is doing nothing dissimilar to Anthony Bourdain except that Bourdain is exploiting himself off of the Food Network. If the 'chef's get their heads out of their asses they will see that a once-speaker for all the underpaid, no medicare, minimum wage maximum hours immigrant kitchen staff' has become a money hungry, fame monger, who has suddenly turned Celebrity Chef and who, at the outset would sit on a dias and self-depricate his fame - has now grown out of that and constantly is cashing in on - PBS, Travel Channel and now CNN...at least his venue is not the Food Channel. How long before Bourdain is asked to judge an Iron Chef episode?

    Comic Books???? Writer for Treme???? $$$$$$$

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Edd: Mine wasn't a shot, it was a request for clarification since I wouldn't know your contract status with Scripps as they own the rights to the material you shot with them under contract and that material is still in use.

    But, I don't think that the feelings you're espousing are newfound, either.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow, that�s what I was looking for, what a information! existing here at this website, thanks admin of this site. how to lose weight fast for teenagers at home http://howtoloseweightfastf.com/

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Internet Online System is very usefull and Billions of Peoples use Internet and Many of the peoples want to make money online from home and make online business for a life time
    We have the best Online earning System with Data Entry Jobs, Online Jobs, Network Marketing, SMS Earning, and Much More Online Work From home, Skype : Jobz.Corner
    JobzCorner.Com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Any thing you want in Entertainment for Fun... Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Bollywood, Hollywood and Lollywood Pictures and Videos, Entertainment Latest updates, Hot Entertainment News and Pictures Funny Entertainment Pictures, lol Pictures, Funny Pictures and Much More Fun Only on 1 Current Affairs Network
    hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete