Last week, I received this e-mail (reprinted verbatim) from a Mr. Jason Mason:
Sheehan (Mr Anthony Bourdain wannabe)
Can you or will you ever give a true review w/stars, forks, diamonds, pokadots, liquor bottles, etc? I've been in the business a long time and have never seen anyone like you kiss so much ass for chef's in a town and not actually critically review them. I mean christ, you wrote about how great and talented that chef from Stuebens/vesta was and then ripped on him a few weeks ago for being on his 3rd or 4th job in a couple of months and now he's in new mexico or somewhere.
Bottom line stop kissing every chef's ass in town and grow up. Be an actual critic! Be like anthony bourdain instead of acting like a disgraceful half-a-sissy version of him.
My measured response (which bounced back when I sent it to the expired hotmail account of the alleged Jason Mason, so I'm publishing it here):
First thing, get your facts right before you start name-calling. The chef you’re talking about who fled to New Mexico was Eric Laslow. And while he might’ve done damage at a lot of different places, he never came anywhere near working at Steuben's or Vesta. He did time at Corridor 44 (which I trashed in a column, then revisited for a review), Restaurant 4580, Iron Mountain Winery and elsewhere and was fired from (or asked to leave) virtually every kitchen he's set foot in since coming to this town.
As for Steuben's and Vesta, I've written about both places, as well as owners Josh and Jen Wolkon and executive chef Matt Selby, plenty -- giving both good and bad critiques of the kitchens there, the food on the menus and the crowds that both places draw. You wanna know one person I didn’t write about in reference to Steuben’s or Vesta? Eric Laslow.
Second, I don't give stars or forks or liquor bottles because that kind of short-hand is made for illiterate simps who just want to know how crispy the jalapeno poppers were. Granted, you're obviously functionally illiterate yourself, so I can understand how such a thing might help you out, but I'm not dumbing my shit down for the learning disabled. Sorry. Maybe you can have someone read the columns to you each week and explain the big words?
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Finally, if there's some chef out there whose ass is chapped from my kissing it, that's only because I think it's an ass that deserves to be kissed. I see that you mention how long you've been working in this industry. Well, I worked in it for a long time, too. And you know what I never did? Go whining to a critic about how I wasn't getting any love when my betters were.
I'm sorry that I never made it to Wendy's to see how good you are at dunking the fries, Jason. I really am. But really, what with all the hours I spend kissing ass and sucking Bourdain's dick, where would I find the time?
Man up, you pussy. Learn to read, pull that stick out of your ass and find someone else to complain to. -- Jason Sheehan