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The Pete Wells Thread


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No, they were from talking to Chang himself. This is relevant:

When I spoke to Chang that day, he talked almost without interruption for ninety minutes, in bursts of defiance, anger, and self-laceration. We met a few days later, and he was barely calmer, although self-awareness softened the effect. He apologized for whining; when he dreamed up conspiracy theories, he labelled them as conspiracy theories, and laughed dryly. (He came to accept, in time, that this article wasn’t planned with thoughts of discussing his restaurant.) When he said “Fuck him!” it was as often with resignation as with scorn.


The piece also mentions that Keller declined to be interviewed.

 

I mean, yes, if Chang weren't a petulant manchild, he probably wouldn't have ranted for 90 minutes to a writer about how the review made him angry, but I think the ship has long since sailed on chefs (and adults in general) being expected to have more class than that.

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According to Eater   Let the grumbling begin.

Even now when everybody has seen pictures of all the major reviewers, there's hope for anonymous restaurant reviewing.

[Deleted]

 

I'm no Chang fan, but I can totally sympathize with his getting defensive.

 

Right. And it's not as if Chang took out full-page ads to lambaste the reviewer, a la the Chod and Keith.

 

 

No, he let the New Yorker do it for him and saved himself the money. He spent 90 minutes ripping Wells while sitting with a journalist who was rolling tape.

 

Nobody plays the media better than Chang. He's been doing it for years. He knew his reaction would get a lot coverage.

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Sorry, that was a sort of non sequitur remark. I think Lex is being too harsh on Chang. Chang wasn't cynically trying to serve mediocre food and get by just banking on name recognition.

 

Straw Man. Actually, golden Straw Man with oak leaf clusters.

 

Nobody said he was trying to serve mediocre food. Wells didn't. I didn't.

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That was their response in public, yes? It's not like Chang published those thoughts in an official statement or something.

 

 

No. He just hung around with a journalist writing an article and mouthed off for 90 minutes. Then, in case the journo was asleep, followed up with a long email rant. Chang was completely surprised to see his reaction in the New Yorker.

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He's such a mastermind, truly.

 

He got the last bullet point out of 8 on an Eater piece, and he got you to make a comment on the Mouthfuls.

 

Overwhelming media brilliance. The stuff of legends. Heights to which we lesser mortals could never even aspire.

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The best I've ever seen in that regard was Daniel Boulud when the The Times's lukewarm review of Bar Boulud came out.

 

"It's good for [the opening chef]," Boulud said. "It helps to get your ass kicked once in a while."

 

Right.

 

Danny Meyer has been doing this for years. Ruth Reichl at the end of 2014 -

 

What would you say to a restaurateur who’s thinking about responding to a bad review?

 

I would follow the Danny Meyer model. Good review or bad, I never wrote a review that Danny Meyer didn’t send me a personal note, always thoughtful and not defensive. If it was a bad review, it was thank you for pointing this out, and I’ll deal with it. If it was a good review, he always added something to it. I think you have nothing to lose by writing a thoughtful note or response to a critic. You have everything to lose by writing a nasty note. The nastier the note you write, the more it will be picked up by social media and the worse it will be for you. No matter how angry you get about it, imagine a million people reading your response. Whining gets you nowhere.

 

 

I've read similar things about him for a long time.

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He's such a mastermind, truly.

 

He got the last bullet point out of 8 on an Eater piece, and he got you to make a comment on the Mouthfuls.

 

Overwhelming media brilliance. The stuff of legends. Heights to which we lesser mortals could never even aspire.

 

He behaved like a jackass. Some people think that's cute.

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This has already been referred to upthread, but I think it's disgusting that failure to recognize a reviewer is now considered a breach of duty of care that is itself a ground for criticizing a restaurant (at least a top-level one). Like fuck you professional food writers, you know? The industry doesn't revolve around you.

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This has already been referred to upthread, but I think it's disgusting that failure to recognize a reviewer is now considered a breach of duty of care that is itself a ground for criticizing a restaurant (at least a top-level one). Life fuck you professional food writers, you know? The industry doesn't revolve around you.

 

If only the FOH were protected by the BJR.

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Chang thought he was funny when he wrote an ode to bad beer.

 

Garret Oliver didn't see it that way and wrote a response.

 

When you say silly things sometimes you get slapped around. Isn't Chang getting a little old for this or is he planning to take over for Bourdain?

I liked this because it shows that there's an inevitability of snobbery - even in changs list, there are certain bad beers that it is appropriate to like. It's like the hipster pbr thing.

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This has already been referred to upthread, but I think it's disgusting that failure to recognize a reviewer is now considered a breach of duty of care that is itself a ground for criticizing a restaurant (at least a top-level one). Life fuck you professional food writers, you know? The industry doesn't revolve around you.

 

I don't disagree that food writers in general should get over themselves, but I don't begrudge Wells his position.

 

Someone has to be the most important in their field, and despite some shoddy judgment over perhaps the past 2yrs, he's definitely staked his claim. At a restaurant like Per Se, where FOH is supposed to be superior in every way, I would say that being able to recognize the most famous diner in NYC should be a priority.

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In that case, what was the point of Wells's Daniel review? Shouldn't he do that at ALL restaurants, if they're expected to give him special treatment and to be faulted for failing to do so? (Note that, at least from the excerpts I've read, it was Jeff Gordinier who made that comment, not Wells.)

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