London - The United States TV cook and restaurateur Guy Fieri must be starting to feel a little paranoid.
Since he opened his new place, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, in Times Square, New York in September, it's been all carp carp, bitch bitch, criticise criticise. One or two of the reviews have bordered on the hostile. One or two have teetered on the edge of personal loathing. No, let's not prevaricate. The review by Pete Wells in The New York Times on Tuesday was probably the most comprehensive hatchet job on a restaurant ever published.
Delivered in a tone of incredulous hatred, it took the form of 34 questions addressed to the bleach-haired, multi-tattooed, bowling-shirted “chef-dude” and TV celebrity:
The scorn goes on and on, sounding less like the food critic of a quality newspaper and more like a conspiracy theorist convinced he's discovered the person responsible for all America's ills.
And his outburst followed a similarly crushing assault on Fieri in the New York Observer by Joshua David Stein, who looks beyond Fieri's new establishment, his food and appearance, to discern something more pernicious. Stein wrote: “Though America would not realise it for years to come, she had welcomed into her heartland perhaps her greatest home-grown besmircher, the seed of her undoing.”
Stein seems to suggest that Fieri's commitment to the super-calorific Cajun Chicken Alfredo, the Sashimi Tacos, Vegas Fries (“extra-crispy, natural-cut fries tossed in house-made Buffalo sauce, served with bleu-sabi dipping sauce”) and similar delights, is single-handedly forcing up obesity levels in America while Fieri loudly commends, on his reality-television shows, his charitable foundation to combat childhood obesity.
He is, Stein says, “the culinary equivalent of the gun lobby”.
Fieri flew to Manhattan to denounce the NYT review and claim Wells had an agenda, to make his name by bashing a television chef.
American commentators sprang to his defence. A fellow TV chef, Alton Brown, tweeted: “I am planning on visiting Guy Fieri's NYC eatery this weekend because it can't be as bad as all those snooty New Yorkers say.”
Another opined: “Guy Fieri is a pox on professional chefs. I think the Donkey Sauce [roast-garlic mayonnaise] may be seasoned with the tears of Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain.”
So a new people's hero is born out of a grassroots dislike of people who cook and appreciate good food, and a rapturous embrace of unhealthy slop and fries tossed in Buffalo sauce.
And it proves that what everybody really, really loves to read is a cataclysmically knocking restaurant review. - The Independent