Friday, April 23, 2010

Eating Out Assholes

Not so much the eating of offal, I’m speaking of the chefs and restaurateurs who are stupid enough to think that their particular brand of “edgy” is going to sell well for television. I’m sure some names jump to mind immediately. Gordon Ramsey right at the top.

In what world does it make sense to slather your restaurant or personal brand with a giant, flaming neon “I’m a huge prick and wholeheartedly believe that you’re all idiots!” sign. Call me crazy, but aren’t these people in the hospitality business? Don’t they charge us anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars to turn their food into feces? Somewhere I like to believe that business owners understand that customers want to like them. Want to like their employees, their building and their style. So why is it that there are so many successful raging assholes flaunting their shitty attitudes who still have jobs, businesses and contracts?

Well, I can wholeheartedly pledge that the following examples of poor parenting won’t receive a single penny from me. Not even those fractional pennies that they get from Google ads. Each day I pray that Moloram and his Thugee cult from the Temple of Doom will kidnap them to work in an Indian rock mine until ultimately pulling their still beating hearts from their chests to be burned as an offering to Kali the Destroyer. May their rectums rot out and drip down their pants leg.

Number one on my list, Michael Chiarello. Well here’s one good reason to skip Napa entirely. This blowhard knowitall is a prime example why a cook should stay in the kitchen and quietly sodomize the dishwashers like a pedophile priest. You just don’t let someone with this guy’s social deficiencies speak in public. He’d be better off having a PR guy with tourettes. Fuck this guy.

A rapid number two, Rick Moonen. I swear these two have to be related. Your typical cock-centric prince of pissantry. He likes to bellow. Safe in his belief that his experience is vastly superior to your own, he strides into any situation like a monarch waltzing in to take a dump on your coffee table and tell you that it’s gold bullion. He comes across as the type of guy who sees a special order come into the kitchen asking for no onions, but in his ebullient wisdom, purees them and sneaks them into the dish anyway…sending you to the hospital with a severe allergic reaction to the onions that you asked to be omitted. I hope his favorite dishwasher gives him Hepatitis.

Alex Guarneschelli. If there is anyone who has done more than Margaret Sanger to get women out of the kitchen, it’s this furburger. I know it’s considered poor form to use the word “cunt” in conjunction with a woman, but there is no other word in the language that can properly describe cuntyness. Maybe it’s the harsh environment that French trained chefs experience in their apprenticeships. But being a TV watching, slope browed, knuckle dragging, food TV fan, I have no empathy. Sorry that school sucked. But with that attitude, I’d rather eat off the hot dog cart up the street from her restaurant than allow my cash to justify her attitude.

And topping our list, Donatella Arpaia. Man, now I wish I would have saved “cunt” for later. Especially because she’s not even a chef! She’s just a grossly successful restaurateur from Manhattan. What a horrible representative for such a wonderful town! I’ve been lucky enough to vacation for a week in the Big Apple. And in that week, running all over the area, from Rockaway to the Bronx. We never ran into anyone so "obviously" superior, rude or hollow as this sticky vag-gremlin.

Crazy people? For sure! It’s New York! But even the strangest of locals were interesting and kind to we tourists, quite fun. The restaurants we visited, while not being Nobu (we’re poor), were amazing. The food was gorgeous. Tapas, sushi, all very elegant. And the service given was excellent. So I must implore, WHY NEW YORK? Why heap accolades on a woman who would have singlehandedly turned me off of your food scene had I not experienced it before she was released from whatever finishing school that Satan sends his kids to? Ship her ass off to the Jersey Shore with the rest of the toxic waste.

Really, if you’re ever been a judge on Chopped, you should probably rethink your public persona...if you want business from anything other than born-again assholes. But, I guess their demographic is larger than I thought. And it’s certainly the assholes who have the stupid amounts of money to keep their ilk in business. Can’t we just lock them all onto Martha’s Vineyard? Property values would skyrocket there. I’m told that sort of thing makes them goo in their monogrammed silk undies.

Now, that’s not to say that any chef to ever show their gob on the small screen should be sent to the camps. Not at all. This whole thing got out of control because the early TV chefs were so warm and reachable. I remember getting home early from school before the good cartoons were on and sitting down to watch Justin Wilson, the Cajun Cook. That man cracked me up! He’d be red-nosed sloshed before the gumbo was done simmering. And he had the most awesome belly jiggling stirring style that I must admit, I have totally stolen. Julia Child was so sweet she got her own semi-biography in film. And the PBS crew of Martin Yan, the Galloping Gourmet and Rick Bayless all made their particular culinary styles very reachable to neophytes. And there are current TV chefs that don’t engorge my prostate with rage too.

The most picked on would be poor Emeril. I hate his show too. The whole format has that Oprah meets paid programming feel to it. People moaning in wild abandon over a man adding an extra clove of garlic to a dish. Men openly spilling their seed on the studio floor as he pours in twice the booze that the recipe calls for. Women sacrificing their children upon a tastefully created altar so that they can get on the waiting list to purchase his spice rubs. That shit was annoying. But as time marches on, I see an older, more tired Lagasse. You can read the lines of stress and regret on his face as you see him relegated to Food Network’s AAA league channel again. Bandying about “green eating” and other empty headed buzz words that make the aforementioned rich assholes feel good about what they’re pooping. In my eyes, it seems that underneath the TV character, the gregarious, coke snorting, wild man-party hound is pretty pissed at what he’s had to do to turn a buck. Can’t hate a cat for making cash if he knows that he should hate himself, I guess. And really, he seems in reality to be more of a warm character. The type of chef that you’re positively giddy when he comes out to do a round of Hello’s at the tables. Not because he’s some celebrity. Once he was just the guy in charge of the food. But that guy was friendly and funny and warm. He’d tell you a story, or you could ask him a hundred questions about your dinner to have them all explained in detail. Crappy show formats haven’t really knocked that vibe off of him. So, we’ll grudgingly admit that we like ya, ya fat, rich bastard.

I love Anne Burell. She’s chunky, she’s a line cook, she probably can cuss more fluently than an Irish limericist. She’s everything that’s not made for TV. And thank god, she avoided the worst part of reality chef shows. She’s got that tough but caring kitchen mom vibe. She’ll kick your ass all day at work, but let you cry on her during break or let you out 15 minutes early so you can pick up your babies. A good person who understands earned respect. She reminds me of my old assistant manager at the Slobster. I still miss her. And her delivery reminds me of being instructed how to make a new plate on the line. She’s proof positive that you don’t need Hollywood porn-polish on a girl for her to have a great TV persona. I’m looking at you Giada, with your French Riviera look and 10,000 tiny perfect white teeth.

Another new favorite is Sunny Anderson. She comes from a radio background, but also ran a catering company specializing in soul food. So, she’s not so much an excellent advocate for a specific restaurant, but she is an excellent example of a friendly face that can make people enjoy learning how to cook. She comes across the magic devil-box rays in a confident cookerly manner, but speaks to you as someone who has also struggled with pain in the butt recipes. It’s nice when a good cook knows when and how to explain complicated or obscure techniques in a reachable way. Here’s hoping that she can keep her feet rooted with the rest of us as she’s buoyed by her television success.

And rounding out the examples I place on wobbly pedestals of adoration. The reigning King of American Cuisine. Thomas Keller, chef, restaurateur and a seemingly awesome guy. Any foodie blog, show, etc, simply fall all over themselves to kiss this guy's ass so hard his butt cheeks are a constellation of hickeys. Yet he always comes across as a reserved and modest fellow. Lacking an ATM in my butt, I have yet to taste his food. But people who are actually PAID to be snarky food snobs seem to agree that he’s untouchable in the shit-talking category. Fresh, local foods, on site gardens and outreach programs to budding chefs. Unless this guy likes putting babies on spikes or something, he’s pretty much the most likeable face in food today. And I think he’s a good example to the shittily successful types mentioned earlier, and their Gordon Ramseyan ilk. You can be successful and sought after, with something resembling grace and be rewarded for it.

One thing about all this still weighs heavy on my mind. How in the hell is Gordon Ramsey still alive? Because, if that’s not a carefully crafted TV persona, he’d have gotten himself stabby stabbed in any kitchen I ever worked in. The servers would have found him stuffed into the hopper of the ice machine, to be tossed out with the garbage after the restaurant closed. I’d think that he’d be put in the poorhouse by employees successfully suing him for abuse, using his shows as evidence. This is the type of guy I wouldn’t piss on if he was on fire AND covered with jellyfish who happened to have athletes foot. I hope Jamie Oliver winds up fucking him to death with a Serrano ham on national television in front of obese Midwest 8th graders. Now THAT’S food TV entertainment!