Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Bizzare but True: Rachel Ray is a Kitchen Sage

This is priceless.

Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig La Ban wrote a review of Chops a steakhouse
in suburban Bala Cynwyd and now they are suing him for libel. The lawsuit contends that La Ban wrote false information when he wrote

A recent meal, though, was expensive and disappointing, from the soggy and sour chopped salad to a miserably tough and fatty strip steak. The crabcake, though, was excellent."
The restaurant owner's lawyers contend
LaBan didn't eat a strip steak, but instead had a "steak sandwich without bread."
The Inquirer's lawyers countered with

LaBan's notes and his receipt for the meal, which shows he was charged for steak frites - steak and french fries. They also submitted to the court copies of steak frites recipes from celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray, both of which call for strip steaks.
And the lawyer's for both sides now agree

LaBan ate steak frites, not a steak sandwich without bread. But Rassias [the restaurant's attorney] said it was a rib-eye, not a strip steak.

Okay, La Ban ate a miserably tough and fatty rib-eye steak. Jeeze, let's move on guys.

I'm not sure what is more pathetic. The specter of lawyers haggling over what whether or not what the guy ate was a strip steak, what is or is not the "proper" cut of meat for a steak frites
(since when was there a law that stipulated the ingredients in a dish prepared in a restaurant?)
or the fact that the lawyers for the newspaper cited Rachel Ray as an authority!

Libel suit could reveal a reviewer | Inquirer | 07/03/2007


Don Luis said...

I'm not sure why everyone seems to be against Rachael Ray.

I can tell you from experience that she views sex the same way that she views food: it should be easy, you should be able to find the necessary ingredients in your local supermarket, and it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes (not including clean-up).

Say what you want about Rachael, but she's a sexy beast.

Bob del Grosso said...

Oh come on now Don Luis :)

I've got nothing against Rachel Ray she seems nice enough. Her message as you describe it is a bit alien to me. I'm a chef and cannot make great meals in under 30 minutes)with products I find in the supermarket. Nor would I want to. Gesu -the bread I serve at dinner everyday takes 2 days to make. But what the heck, TV was never about my life and never will be.

But don't you think it's a little bit funny that some lawyer is citing someone who is not a food historian or scholar, not even a professional chef as an proxy expert on French gastronomy?

I'm telling you we live in crazy times where all it takes for anyone to be an expert to be the host of a TV show or movie actor.

Did you ever see the puppet movie "Team America?" It does a great job of speaking to this by making the hero who is chosen as the only one capable of saving the world from terrorism a Broadway actor.

Anonymous said...

Okay now THIS I can picture happening in Nashville.....not Philly.

This HAS to be a sign of the Apocalypse.


Ed Bruske said...

I'd say they're all wrong. The French cut their meat differently than we do. Thus, an authentic "steak frites" as prepared in a Paris bistro would contain neither a "strip steak" nor a "ribeye," but something entirely different. An "onglet," or hanger steak maybe?

Bob del Grosso said...

Of course you are correct they are all wrong.

Typically French steak frites is made with entrecote which is similar to strip steak and is why strip is most frequently used here. Onglet is used too but less often than entrecote.

In any case La Ban was correct to assume he got strip and should be forgiven if for not other reason that one crappy piece of meat looks very much like another when you are disgusted!

Don Luis said...


I was kidding, of course.

I have nothing against Rachael Ray either: I wish her success, but I cringe every time she refers to her Italian roots. Bread takes me two days as well, and Puerto Rican food is all about slow.

My biggest smile today was seeing Zappa on your site. When he died in 1993, my coworkers, many of whom inexplicably did not like me, expressed sympathy at my loss. He was my hero. I wonder how many of your readers got the "no commercial potential" reference. I believe that was the title of his autobiography, one of the most typographically offensive books I have ever read.

I've never seen the puppet movie "Team America," but I will look for it.

Bob del Grosso said...

Don Luis

I discovered Frank's music when I was 13 (1967) or thereabouts when one of my buddies showed up with a copy of Freak Out! From there on I was lost.

I've been to more Mother's concerts than I can remember. And several post-Mother's performances too.

But one show always stands out not so much for the brilliance of the music or the amazing performance but something else-I think.

It (actually I went twice) was at the Fillmore East and featured Flo and Eddy and a really big band, ended up as a live album.
So the thing that killed me about that show is an image that I've got stuck in my head of Frank standing stage left (my right) ripping, I mean ripping through solo after solo, a cigarette stuck in the guitar's tuning head, and the dude seems to be standing as still as a statue. Makes me tear up to think about it.

Phi Zappa Crappa Don Luis! Okay, now I'm going to cry.