What’s a chef to do with a bad online review? Address it? Learn from it? Ignore it? Or now there’s another option, turning it into performance art.
Chefs Feed has been featuring chefs reading out their worst diner critiques, in a nod to the Real Actors Read Yelp Reviews series, featuring lines such as “I admit, I have never been to this hole,” and “The smoked meat tasted of smoke.” The first Seattle chef to join in was Jason Stratton of Cascina Spinasse, Artusi & Aragona, also an artist, who can’t resist interjecting some disbelieving commentary.
On the video, he gives life to disses like the claim that Spinasse is not a true Italian restaurant, with most of its wines being from Piedmont (“a region in Northwest Italy,” Stratton noted,) a pan from another diner who said a pork dish looked like “prison food” (it’s milk-braised pork, Stratton said, and “I’m pretty sure they don’t serve that in prison,”) while a final slammer reported sarcasm from waiters after leaving a 10 percent tip. Stratton said it’s policy in his restaurants never to pick up a check off the table before the guest has left; “maybe that’s a little guilt speaking?”
Check out the full video here, and don’t feel too bad for Stratton — the Yelp reviews for Spinasse average a superior 4.5 stars, and he could make a whole other video’s worth of lines like “The food was exquisite” and “one of the best meals of my life.”