Omnivore - Maicon proposes Eyester-Kessler spatula duel

Referee urgently sought


  • Eater.com

Tom Maicon of Food & Beer (nee Atlanta Cuisine) has written a post that will be of interest to those following Ron Eyester's response to AJC critic John Kessler's open letter to Atlanta chefs. Here's most of the post, which is entitled "Chef vs. Critic: Internet Food Fight":

I believe Kessler — though arrogantly — did make some very valid points regarding the food being served by our city’s chefs. Frankly, it’s become so dull I’ve been driven to drink, literally (hence the name change), and I now spend most of my days eating at small ethnic hole-in-the-walls instead of our city’s so-called best restaurants....

Eyester made some great points as well. Why on earth would the AJC employ a lead dining critic whose face is widely known throughout the industry? I mean, it was the AJC themselves who willfully splashed his face all over the paper for the past five years. How could readers possibly believe they are getting a fair and accurate review knowing good and well that the critic has been handled with extra care? But then, there isn’t a single critic in town whose face isn’t known to most....

And yes, Ron, the AJC’s food section is struggling and the paper doesn’t hold up to other big city rags, but telling young chefs in this town who are reading your response that it’s okay to use the paper’s shortfalls as an excuse to serve boring food is totally unacceptable. Shame on you. I will say it again, please read carefully. I understand it’s a business so I’m not recommending these exotic ingredients and/or flavors Kessler mentions in his letter need be incorporated into every dish on the menu, but fun nightly nuances here and there would go a long way — and would be greatly appreciated.

Maicon ends with offering this startling image by way of resolution:

I suggest we dress the two up in nothing but g-strings, arm each with a single spatula, and let them roll around in a slippery puddle of pig fat. Winner takes all.

(By the way, if you think this contretemps is anything unusual, check out Eater.com's wrap-up of 2010 chef-critic spats, illustrated with the image above.)