DonRocks Posted November 16, 2012 Share Posted November 16, 2012 Dear Mr. Fieri, This is in response to your defense against Pete Wells' scathing review of "Guy's American Kitchen and Bar." In particular, this piece from Gawker.com, "Guy Fieri Thinks Times Restaurant Critic Pete Wells Has It In For Him. It Really Seemed Like There Was Another Agenda." Let me start out by saying I'm somewhat unique among restaurant personae in that I only watch television rarely, don't subscribe to any newspapers, never watch Food Shows, and honestly wouldn't have recognized the name Guy Fieri before this review came out. I would have recognized your face from somewhere, and if someone told me, "Guy Fieri is the guy that does Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," I would have said, "Oh, of course." I don't know what you sound like, and don't know what makes you tick. Please rest assured I have nothing for or against you personally. I also do not know Pete Wells, and quite honestly, if someone asked me last week who the New York Times Restaurant Critic was, I probably couldn't have answered correctly. The name would have rung a bell, but that's about it. I know virtually nothing about Mr. Wells, and have nothing for or against him personally. I'm also rather unique in that fame, flamboyance, and popularity have virtually no effect on me. I take those attributes neither as being positive nor being negative, and I view them as being completely separate when evaluating what type of product a restaurant (or a home cook) is putting out. They are of no more importance to me than if someone is tall, or blonde, or from Atlanta. The product alone is the only thing that I judge because the product alone is the only thing worth judging. Here in the Washington, DC area, we have numerous celebrity chefs, two of whom are often thought of in tandem: Mike Isabella, and Spike Mendelsohn, both products of the TV show "Top Chef" (I had to double-check this), and both darlings of the local media. Try as I might, I am unable to avoid seeing their smiling faces, based on all the internet work that I do. Yes, I get sick of seeing them, but that would not, and should not, affect any impartial reviews written about their restaurants, where food, beverage, service, price, atmosphere and a few other smaller things are all that matter. My review of Mr. Isabella's first restaurant Graffiato, is here. It was an unreasonably expensive noise box, with the quality of food all over the map. While my overall assessment is positive, this restaurant has big problems, and is not where I would steer someone in the DC area. Still, it's a real restaurant, putting out some terrific dishes, worthy of being critiqued, and Mr. Isabella can justifiably be proud of himself. What he does from this point forward remains to be evaluated. On the other hand, Mr. Mendelsohn is known for a small chain of quick-serve hamburger restaurants that serve food which is simply awful. There is not one good thing that I can say about Good Stuff Eatery, yet, he's opened three locations, has a "Good Stuff Cookbook," and is opening an online store selling T-shirts and other sundries. None of this matters, however; what matters is that his food, if I may borrow a line from a review I wrote about Rosa Mexicano years ago, is Martian Pig Slop From Hell. There is no redeeming culinary value in any of his restaurants. None. This does not mean he can't cook, this does not mean he isn't a wonderful human being, and this does not mean "I have it in for him." It means his restaurants suck, period. Mr. Fieri, you wrote about Mr. Wells' review: "that to me went so overboard it really seemed like there was another agenda." While I don't know whether or not Mr. Wells "has it in for you," in my case I can promise that I had no other agenda when I wrote that review about Rosa Mexicano, just as I can promise that I don't "have it in" for Mr. Mendelsohn or Mr. Isabella. I am judging them on their work and their work alone, and based on everything I've heard about Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, I suspect Mr. Wells did the same with you. I'm sorry to tell you that your restaurant sounds absolutely terrible, and the type of place which is showing contempt to the health of your customers, providing easy calories presented using fattening ingredients and unhealthy preparations. Do not assume that there is a hidden agenda here - it comes across to me as a fair-game critique of the product that you've chosen to attach your name onto, and you're going to just have to live with that. Either that or do a 180. Now, as for having an alternate agenda, I have one: the extinction of the grinning idiot celebrity chef without any substance to match his marketing. I want them all to shut up and go away, and that topic is certainly worthy of further exploration and endless derision. I will gladly lead the pack of writers when it comes to crucifying these vacuous fools whose only positive attribute seems to be the ability to sit in front of a camera and grin. But that type of agenda has no place in an individual restaurant review. I suspect that Wells is as sick of these empty non-talents as I am, and it may indeed have been an impetus to make him want to review your restaurant. But unless the review of Guy's American Kitchen and Bar itself was tainted due a preconceived bias of Wells, then it doesn't much matter what the impetus was. Sincerely yours, Don Rockwell Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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