On Friday, the INDY published a blog from restaurant critic Emma Laperruque, in which Laperruque recounts being denied service at Crawford and Son, star Raleigh chef Scott Crawford's new restaurant, apparently because Crawford did not appreciate what Laperruque wrote about his former restaurant, Standard Foods (namely, that it was better without him). Laperruque, it's worth noting, made the reservation under her dining partner's name and gave the restaurant staff no indication of who she was or that she was planning to review Crawford and Son; Crawford, it seems, had ordered his staff to be on the lookout for her, and he personally asked her to leave.
This story generated lots of comments, both from those who felt Crawford's behavior was out of line and those who believed he was well within his rights to deny service to a reviewer. We begin with Scott Crawford himself.
"The restaurant was fully committed Saturday evening with a reservation list comprised of supportive guests from Raleigh and surrounding communities," he writes. (Laperruque and her partner were on that reservation list.) "We welcome our guests and their feedback. In addition, I do now, and have throughout my twenty-year career, been welcome to receiving constructive criticism from journalists.
"Based upon Ms. Laperruque's previous coverage and her color commentary on appearances of the staff at Standard Foods (irrelevant to the service and cuisine, which is generally the focus of a review), I felt it was in the best interest of the Crawford and Son team to focus on our non-editorial diners, as I do not believe Ms. Laperruque has the professional experience to review the restaurant. We welcome the opportunity to be reviewed with constructive criticism, but do not feel that Ms. Laperruque's tenure within the food community justifies her journalistic tone and her approach to covering Raleigh's thriving culinary community."
Also rallying to Crawford's banner, Megan Edge: "Emma Laperruque and INDY Week have done a disservice to Scott Crawford with this piece, but not nearly the disservice they have done to themselves, respectively. Crawford & Son is a private entity well within its rights to refuse participation in a review. It is not a taxpayer-supported entity subject to press scrutiny as a means of public transparency. A restaurant review is also an opinion piece, and its role in the 'media' isn't much more than a credentialed Yelp review."
In the comments section, Norm Tide says Crawford is a hack: "He's an egotistical, mediocre, lazy cook who pays his PR lady very well to keep the hype up. His tenure at Standard Foods was merely a stepping stone to his own place. He abandoned the SF concept, manipulated the masses, and rarely even cooked a meal there. Oh, and his food is unimpressive to say the least. He could care less about the community, only the chance to be famous. He stayed in Raleigh just for that reason alone, less big fish to compete with here. Also, choosing to not be reviewed isn't an option for an owner, but when he has a PR person who controls his media, the thought of the truth or one negative word being uttered panicked him."
"That type of behavior makes me want to not eat at his restaurant," adds commenter Kander. "All artists, musicians, and chefs are reviewed by critics in their area. We may not like the article, or only some or all of it. Regardless, this type of behavior is unwarranted and repulsive."
"Clearly a douche," writes David Bryan Green on Facebook.
"What a chode," adds Scott Warren.
"I won't be setting foot in the place," comments Chris Browder.