Esquire responds to the Huffy Chef: “We’re Degusted!”

Swedish Chef.jpgWhat to do when an irascible chef claims that you swept into his restaurant imperiously with an arm-long list of demands — including that all remotely-connected expenses be picked up by the restaurant? Well, if you’re John Mariani you say it’s “preposterous,” and are likely disinclined to kiss the cook. If you’re an intrepid media blogger who wants answers, dammit, you ask his editor, senior Esquire editor David Katz. Here’s what he said:

I can assure you that John never demands comps when on assignment for Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants” story. I have the receipts sitting here on my desk to prove it. The man enjoys his expensive French wines, I’ll tell you that. Obviously the chef who made that statement is upset that Mariani doesn’t dig his style of food. But the statement is total nonsense, and potentially libelous, and John has asked the owner of the place for a written retraction and apology. He is waiting to hear back from them. In any case, all this talk of great food is making me hungry… just in time to go fast.

Oh great, way to play the religion card. Just kidding. L’shana Tova to all of you who are able to tell that I spelled that wrong!

Update: Indignant confirmation from John Mariani, via Katz: “I have NEVER asked for a free meal or made any demand whatsoever in 25 years of dining out for Esquire. I have turned down more invitations than most press junketeers go on in a lifetime.”

“…and then I’d like some tomato soup, hold the tomatoes…” [FishbowlNY – 2nd item]