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Chef Fri Jul 23 2010

Food or Drama: You Decide

A couple of days ago, Graham Elliot Bowles invited some folks to come to a sample tasting of food he was prepping for Lollapalooza. He hand-picked the guest list of foodies, bloggers, writers, musicians and chefs. Chicago magazine's Cassie Walker was invited and saw it as an opportunity to give readers a sneak peek into what they could expect to eat at the area's largest music event. She decided to write up what she tasted and present it with gorgeous photographs so attendees could decide how best to spend their one to three meals' worth of appetite at Lollapalooza. Little did she know, as she wrote her cheeky review, that she was going to get serious flak from Chef Bowles for writing what she thought Lolla attendees might like to know ahead of time.

After his anger-fueled reaction to Chicago Magazine via Twitter, he reacted angrily to people who questioned his reaction. But after spending a day promoting his participation in Fox Network's "Master Chef," he published his reaction to Walker's piece.

When toiling in the restaurant trenches, nothing is more abhorrent, more boring, more flaccid, than programmed cynicism. Wait! No - you know what? There's something deeper, more repugnant; a quality so malignant that people literally waste years of their precious lives in its delusive grasp: Self-Importance. If we were to fuse these shining traits in an unholy marriage not unlike Frankenstein or Will Smith's Wild Wild West - we'd only begin to scratch the surface of the article in question.

Who cares if we've tweaked the food offerings at Lollapalooza (whose home lies in Chicago), with an amazing lineup of Chefs that represents...wait for it...Chicago? And seriously, why worry about the tens-of-thousands of dollars these independent restaurateurs are putting on the line by trying to make a music festival even better by serving inspired food? Pretty blasé when compared to the collective inhale of the entire city, holding its breath for a "writer" to critique/rate sampling portions of the food that will be offered.

Aside from meddling with the parasitic formula that affords her a job in the first place - Cassie Walker has donned the garb of a fourth-rate Joan Rivers covering the Daytime Emmy's. What was supposed to be a fun gathering of Chefs, foodies, bloggers, writers and musicians celebrating the fact that our town now sports the best food offerings of any music fest in the country, sadly turned into a opportunity for a catty, reckless blog post fueled by a sick self-importance for insidious and prosaic journalism.

Bowles wants to prove how "our town sports the best food offerings of any music fest in the country" (which, honestly, no one in Chicago doubted for a second), but instead he's changed the focus to be how he is REALLY, REALLY angry at a writer from Chicago magazine for writing about an event he invited her to.

Whether you think Cassie Walker shouldn't have written about her experience at the event, or whether you think Chef Bowles overreacted to her comments about what she clearly describes as samples of the food that will be available, or whether you think his publicist encouraged this blow-out in preparation for the pilot of a network show he appears on, the discussion is no longer centered on the food. And, honestly, having eaten a tasty, tasty Kuma's burger with a fried egg on top (accompanied by a plate, silverware, and pile of napkins) I think Walker may have a good point or two about the food options. I guess we'll find out the Monday after Lollapalooza when the food waste is counted and the profit is tallied.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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