I’m not really a band-wagon type of person, but last week’s events on Twitter involving 2 Michelin starred Claude Bosi and amateur blogger/trip advisor reviewer have moved me to comment.
Not only did twitter erupt into a hurricane of claim and counter; claim for and against each party involved. The Guardian was moved to publish this piece the next day; http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/nov/08/top-chefs-unite-against-blogger-s-review
After a little bit of research perusing the author’s biography (http://www.lukemackay.co.uk/biography/) I found that the author of the above piece, who, whilst being a chef, has never cooked for length in a kitchen inhabited by the likes of Claude Bosi, Sat Bains and Tom Kerridge.
And here I get to the crux of my understanding of the whole debate. There is a militancy of cooking in Michelin kitchens: it’s a lifestyle choice. It is a hard place with rich language and often populated with hard, borderline psychotic people. With that said, those behaviours are not always elicited, but like a wild boar if you poke it often enough a chef will bite you. Bearing that in mind, I understand the arguments on both sides, but to call it ‘bullying’ is, quite frankly, a disgrace.
We’ve all seen videos on YouTube of people stroking wild animals in some messed up South East Asian zoo only for the same, apparently tame, little-incy-wincy ‘cute’ tiger to turn around and bite the stupid twat of a tourists sodding arm off! And what is the common response after the shock and awe of watching this freak show? Well, most people, like me, cannot believe someone would be so inexcusably thick and tricked into thinking this animal won’t fuck you up in a heartbeat. The same is true of chefs.
You can dress them all up on TV and put them in pretty looking books but at the end of the day, ask any front of house worker, a chef can turn on you quicker than splitting hollandaise. Whether it’s a complete verbal evisceration on the pass or something slightly more physical is irrelevant.
I didn’t say it was right ‘nor did I say it was wrong, I’m simply pointing out that poor James Isherwood should have realised the dangers involved in what he was doing.
Finally, If people seriously think that most chefs, at some point, don’t think of all guests as a c*%t, then I’m afraid you are seriously deluded! After all, as with a review, it’s never personal, is it?!