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Posts Tagged ‘S. Irene Virbila’

Red Medicine Chef Revisits LA Times Restaurant Critic Flap

Jordan Kahn (pictured), co-owner and chef at the Beverly Hills restaurant that famously outed and expelled LA Times critic S. Irene Virbila, does not mince words. In part 2 of an interview with LA Weekly, he calls out the snarky commenters on Eater LA and suggests that his approach to restaurant food is something that was perhaps destined to never please Virbila:

“I can’t speak for her because I don’t actually know her, although I’d love to meet her one day. But when you read a lot of her reviews, you tend to see a trend of what she likes and what she doesn’t. There’s a part of me that thinks she’s gonna think that there’s too much fuss, we’ve put in too much work.

She reviewed Providence and she wrote that some of the dishes were too fussy. I read that and I said, ‘Does that mean they put in too much time? That’s considered a detriment now, I suppose. You’re spending too much time making this perfect. You need to slop it out. But not too sloppy because I’ll call you sloppy. You need to find the balance that I like.’”

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Amateur Critic in the Middle of Another 100-Restaurant Marathon

Orange County Register reporter Lori Basheda does a nice job today of catching up with the region’s unlikeliest restaurant critic. Bobby Navarro (pictured), a Culinary Art Institute dropout and waiter at two high-end South Coast Plaza restaurants, has been using tip money to finance a pair of “100 Restaurants in 100 Days” marathons.

The first calorie caravan was completed in the fall of 2010, while Navarro is currently in the midst of his second such expensive excursion. He keeps his fans posted via Facebook and Twitter, telling Basheda he has no interest in being another “snarky” voice:

“This is about getting other people excited about eating,” he says. “To discourage anybody from trying something different and new is hurtful to the restaurant industry in general.”

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Jonathan Gold Weighs In on Red Medicine’s Outing of a Food Critic

Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold meditates on the issue of anonymity in the current LA Weekly, and offers his take on Vietnamese restaurant Red Medicine‘s decision to refuse service to and publish a photo online of S. Irene Virbila, a longtime restaurant critic for the LA Times.

I can even understand, almost, why they felt obligated to do what they did: They had kept Virbila waiting, they were slammed, she had been pretty brutal to chef Jordan Kahn’s desserts when he was the pastry chef at Michael Mina’s XIV, and they sensed disaster. It was a panicked move, and I suspect they knew it was dumb even as they were doing it. They did no real harm to Virbila — if anything, they lent her pluckiness — but they made themselves look second-rate.

Gold himself was “outed” by a picture posted on the LA Weekly website of him celebrating his Pulitzer win with staff.

* Photo by Anne Fishbein

LA Times Food Critic Decries Vietnam Restaurant Ambush

There are two main issues at play in the Tuesday, December 21st Tumblr outing of LA Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila. The first is the strange and ultimately indefensible behavior of Red Medicine co-owner Noah Ellis (pictured), whose decision to rudely photograph customer Virbila and post the picture on the website of his Beverly Hills Vietnamese eatery is juvenile, at best.

On the other hand, the matter of Virbila’s prized critic anonymity is something of a falsehood. As the story of her photo-flash encounter made its way yesterday from LA Weekly to the pages of the LA Times and New York Times, comments left by those who work in the restaurant industry suggest that Virbila could readily be identified by most local kitchen managers.

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