Some Thoughts Upon TripAdvisor
Sorry, I digress. Back to sharing our opinions, which now assumes a patriotic duty as we drive our friends, or at least the Facebook version of friend down to the shops to replicate our ‘amazing’ experience.
Utter scum. a.k.a. The sinister nonce-looking Jacobi Cody Babchuk
Yet the spectacular success of these Coliseum-format Reality shows was duly noted, especially the fact that they were both highly addictive and perfect vehicles upon which myriad products could be hung, thus allowing vast profits to be created. The public were assigned an additional role other than that of the dupe who received the gargantuan telephone bill, they were cast as the baying, partisan crowd who were instructed in the catechisms of nastiness and schadenfreude. Through a complicit media, a new tribalism was fabricated where the public were encouraged to identify and follow particular contestants whilst maligning others. All, like early Christians, were brought into the arena to entertain us before they were mauled and annihilated by the judges, who whilst aesthetically inferior to lions, were equal to them in savagery.
The subsequent tragedy is that the X- Factor generation, like dogs having tasted human blood, quickly developed a taste for their opinions be heard on all manner of subjects as the profits from soliciting opinions was so fantastical. This is doing immeasurable harm to so many creative fields as the new Rhadymanthuses are becoming, through no discernible merit other than weight of numbers, the arbitrators of good taste.
This new punditcracy, this new era of scrutiny, examination and over-analysis is ruining whatever enjoyment there once was in creative fields. One unfortunate ramification being a breakdown in trust between the creator and the purchaser, as the former view new faces with suspicion who might be purchasing the product, or experience only to pass judgment rather enjoy, especially since ritual humiliation is so watchable –think Cowell and Michael Winner’s spectacularly cruel Sunday Times diatribes. Mediocre people have taken notice that you can achieve unmerited success by being the rudest and most destructive. How enlightened!
Another brief digression.
I would spend my entire meager salary on dining out and would sit in restaurants watching sophisticated Parisians take part in the age-old ritual of being 'å table'. There would be laughter, animated, grown-up conversation, visible expressions of delight as great wines and gustatory delectations were brought before them, served by authentic, passionate artisans. It seemed to be the apotheosis of good living and what distinguished the participants from lower beasts.
I often see this same wonderful ritual take place in my own restaurant. Set in a beautiful garden, surrounded by antiques from my girlfriends shop, it really is an earthly paradise. I am also privileged to have a lot of regulars, and on most evenings the garden and my assigned aisle will resemble a club, one full of regular faces, where everyone plays their role in the theater of living well. There will be laughter, air-kissing, chinking of glasses, audible sounds of appreciation. In return every one of the staff, including myself, will make the greatest effort to ensure the evening has been a pleasure for all concerned. It is a decent and noble thing to devote a life to.
Such an observation brings me to my present gripe. Just when did the 'tryers' and 'testers' take over this wonderful and rarefied world? When did goofy people with bad haircuts, dog-vomit-patterned shirts and no sense of aesthetics get to mark my homework? In recent months, I've had the misfortune to entertain some really marginal types in my home, those who probably considered food as sustenance, company as net-working, and oenophilia as an exotic ailment, at least until discovering that by describing oneself as a 'foodie' one acquired all sorts of useful social kudos.
The loathsome Jacobi Cody Babchuk is an exemplary case of an angry, resentful nonentity who has discovered the blissful, cathartic pleasure -akin to a post-coital cigarette- of trashing people who do something better than him in life. Existence must be a terrible ordeal for poor Cody.
He concluded his 'piece' with the illuminating statement that "I was no star chef", which made me wonder whether his 'foodie' apprenticeship was served scoffing TV dinners in front of Dinner Impossible, or Iron Chef, a faux-education that distorted his understanding as to what dining our should actually entail. Sorry to disillusion him, but I and many people like me, don't aspire to be his 'star' personalities, a face to follow before eventually tiring of. Instead, I remain what I've always been, a creatively minded perfectionist, one who has a work ethic superior to such breathtakingly mediocre people such as Babchuk. That despite these recent calumnies, I continue to love the whole extravaganza of eating, being in company, meeting interesting, good people. I just wish scum as Babchuk would keep their infantile celebrity, 'star' world to their sycophantic selves.
Meathead mentioned en passant, that his favourite food back in Toronto was chips smothered in melted cheese. Gosh, you’re such an aesthete Stephene.
That TripAdvisor is so influential is an utter tragedy as it is used more often by such bullies. Recently we had to turn away a girl accompanied by her lobotomized boyfriend who was dressed for dinner in balloon shorts, wife-beater vest top and sneakers usually worn by that nonce-clown Ronald MacDonald. Her immediate retort; "We'll see what TripAdvisor has to say."
The dangerously psychotic Mauricio Gil Casadiego, who turned up at the restaurant without a reservation demanding a table. The waiter explained that we were full and unfortunately there was no space available, to which the narcissist replied .......congratulations? No, of course he didn't congratulate us, instead he screamed 'he would ruin us' and as if to prove his point wrote six witless pieces on various sites denouncing us for being.....popular? Surely any reasonable, sane person would agree that not only should Mauricio be sectioned or at least vaccinated for rabies, but such behaviour is gauche and totally unacceptable.
Personally, if we were going to go the charade of objective truths, I must confess that I prefer experts such as Lord Clark, Sir David Attenborough or Fay Maschler, especially when compared with today's cognoscenti who are often indistinguishable from Ellesworth Toohey!
For all the people who have enjoyed my restaurants over the years, maybe even gone and written about the experience, I thank you, and you should know I probably enjoyed cooking for you as much as you did consuming it. I actually contribute to TripAdvisor myself as we travel three months of the year and experience many restaurants and hotels, though I have made a blood pledge to only write about places that have genuinely touched me. Of course we've had many anticlimactic or disappointing dinners but there is something profoundly cruel about the denunciatory on-line forums and bear-pits that are the new stocks in which we can throw rotten cabbages at miscreants. The restaurants I didn't enjoy I simply withdrew my custom from.
|Our restaurant set amongst my girlfriend`s antiques store|
Tian of Skate and Crab with Cucumber Veloute
Smoked Foie Gras with Caramelized Onion Puree and Mushroom Vinaigrette
Tartare of Red Mullet with Cauliflower puree and salad of calamar.
Tagine of Quail with Dates and Almond Jus
Cannelloni of Curried Sea Bass with carpaccio of sea bass
Darne of Red Mullet filled with Crab, Aniseed Jus
Roasted Teal with Galette of Fig, Game Jus with Tea Infusion
Deep fired squid filled with paella, Aioli sauce
Caramelized Skate wing with Fondant potato and Broccoli puree
Soul Fillet with Vichyssoise Soup and Langoustine Tails
Deep-fried Oysters with Olive Oil Hollandaise and Red wine Sauce
Soup of Broad Beans with Rabbit Offal and crispy Leg
Ballotine of Lambs Sweetbreads with white bean truffle casserole.
Brochette of Scallops on a smoked eel skewer with Provencal vegetables and Pesto Sauce
Smoked Whiting with poached egg and hollandaise Sauce
Salad of Duck 'Ham' Foie Gras, Confited Leg and Romaine Leaves
Braised Foie Gras with Choucroute, saucisson and Lentil Sauce
Roasted Langoustie Tails with Asparagus cappuccino, shredded spears and Wild Mushrooms.
Roasted Scallops wrapped in Smoked Salmon with Vegetable Ravioli and Carrot Jus
Cannelloni of Oxtail, Confited Celeriac and Red wine Dressing
Rillette of Red Mullet with Prune puree and Almond Sauce
Caramelized Lamb's offal with Broad Bean soup and pottao galette
Breast of Duck with Chicken parfait, rolled in a Roesti Potato with Buttered Lentils