Sky Full of Bacon

Mariani Strikes Back!

The John Mariani saga so far, for those who haven’t been following along:

So a bunch of people including Sky Full of Bacon sniped at elite foodwriter John Mariani as he came to Chicago to tell us which of our restaurants met his high standards, some of them Twittering his antics as they happened though one of the best comments was this David Hammond LTH post; MenuPages summed up the controversy in a post temperately entitled “Why Does Everyone Hate John Mariani?”, which got so many comments attacking or defending him that first Mariani’s Esquire editor responded, and now Mariani himself has.

So basically Mariani’s rebuttal comes down to, blogs got no journalistic ethics. ┬áSays the man whose defense is basically that even though he writes one of those hype-y magazine list things (“Best New Restaurants”), which would normally be the province of a critic, they gave him a different title so he wouldn’t be bound by the ethical requirements of a critic while still meeting the magazine’s minimum requirements for sensationalism, publicity and trendiness.

There, blogs, now you know what to aspire to as you clean your act up.

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2 Responses to “Mariani Strikes Back!”

  1. Jon in Albany Says:

    Let me start by saying the only writing of Mariani’s I have ever read is the rebuttal you have linked in this post. Prior to reading this and the links, the only time I ever saw his name was in one of Ruhlman’s books. Not to put Esquire down too badly…I have never seen the magazine outside of a barber shop. I wouldn’t have thought Esquire had much pull in the restaurant business. I guess it does.

    While I usually agree with you, I think you may be coming down a bit too hard on this guy. His rebuttal is more than just putting down blogs. He writes that he has paid for the meals he has been accused of demanding for free. He also denies (quite plausibly) that he ever sent a restaurant any demands or required to be “hosted” for a favorable review.

    As for putting down blogs, in this case he does make a valid point. There was no fact-checking and anonymous accusations. Prior to reading his rebuttal, I believed everything negative that was said. Now I don’t.

    I will agree that the guy comes off as a pompous ass. He very well may be one. Don’t know. Handing a bartender a recipe is pretty lame. Not sure what he said at the Knob Creek dinner, but if he implied surprise that decent food could be found outside New York City (don’t know if he did), well that would be a special kind of arrogance.

    In the end, all I’m saying is that I have yet to see any evidence showing me that Mariani deserves this much animosity. Restaurant critics or freelance writers – both get published reviewing food in the Albany Times Union. People with either title have written things I agree with. People with either title have also written things that prove the writer knows nothing about food.

    Just my 2 unpopular cents.

  2. Michael Gebert Says:

    I think the eating free think is a bit of a red herring– Esquire’s paying for it anyway. But throwing his weight around the way he does is kind of dubious. There’s a lot about what a big dog he is in the food world that is worth taking shots at.

    The blogs weren’t the ones who got it wrong– it was the Sun-Times. That said, I have my own opinions about why the chef involved felt a need to retract it, and it may not be because it wasn’t true.