?By "hashing it out," I don't mean to imply that Adrianne Calvo and I got together, smoked hash, and sang Kumbaya with our mouths filled with chocolate chip cookies — although now that I think of it, that would have made a much more interesting post. Rather I had hurled the charge of fakeism at Ms. Calvo, chef/owner of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard & Wine Bar in a blog back in October, and she responded via email late last week. I present her letter below, followed by my response.
Why do you call me the "World's Fakest Chef"? I work so hard every day. I don't understand. I graduated top of my class, I opened my restaurant with my own sweat and tears and it is me that works the stove every night. Please, I invite you to please come here and see what I do. I've been open four years now, and we've come a long way. Why would you write something so mean? I really do hope that no one trashes your efforts and your career for no reason. I am sad that you use your power in the media to harm others.
First, let me acknowledge that even in my mixed review of your restaurant in 2007, I noted your "extraordinary ambition and admirable accomplishments". Plus I am aware that you do charity work for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. I don't doubt that you are a decent person and work hard at your place of business, and understand why you'd be upset with my writing what I did. Not only was it not very nice of me, but as you have indeed been cooking at your own restaurant for four years, the charge of "world's fakest chef" is obviously a gross exaggeration. If you were to look over my writing through the years, you would see that I rarely throw mocking words like that about.
So why did I do so this time? ;As a counter to the way you grossly exaggerate yourself on your website: "One of the most accomplished, respected, and charismatic chefs in the world." I understand that you know you're not the world's best chef, and that these words are just a way of selling yourself and your multiple cookbooks and products. But that is a really outrageously arrogant claim, and one that you've had on your website for years — before you had even worked full time in a professional kitchen. Even today, your site is filled with photos of you at events, and things to buy, but precious little in the way of photos of your dishes or writing about food.
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You've made it far by knowing how to package and market yourself. Good for you. But hype, like everything else, can be taken too far. And should you continue to go through life self-promoting yourself in this boastful manner, I probably won't be the last person to call you out on it. Self-glorification, especially when unwarranted, is one of those traits that people like to take aim at.
That said, because we've aired this out now, I give you my word that I won't pick on you in print again. In fact, I've got the hash and cookies all ready...