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Posts Tagged ‘Pete Wells’

The Price of Guy Fieri’s Friendship: $100,000

Now we know what he's laughing about.How much would you pay to hang out with Guy Fieri for a day? NYT restaurant critic Pete Wells would probably say “nothing”, because he can’t forgive the Guy for ruining a plate of nachos, aka the “hardest [dish] in the American canon to mess up”. But for hedge funder Steven A. Cohen, the experience was worth $100,000.

What did that sum buy the man? According to the recently published expose From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, the deal was that Cohen and Fieri would be “friends for a day” and do all the awesome things you see each week on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

But—as if to prove that the goodness in Fieri’s heart is every bit as real as the frosting on his tips—the two went on to become true buds prone to bonding over well-cooked weiners.

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The ABCs of Using Simpler Language

Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was no doubt pleased with the New York Times’ two-star review of his latest New York restaurant, abc cocina, on July 31. But whoever wrote the description on the restaurant’s website may have cringed, since food critic Pete Wells questioned key passages. The review serves as a reminder why concise wording usually makes better business sense.

 

Here’s the abc cocina website content that Wells parsed:

abc cocina & michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten welcome you to our modern global exchange celebrating local craft and international culture, a fusion of tradition and innovation uniting yesterday and tomorrow. Experience the vision of abc home curation, a romantic and mystical atmosphere and succumb to a dynamic love affair with an eclectic and enchanting cuisine.

Here are excerpts from Wells’ reaction to that description:

“If that gives you a vivid picture of what’s in store for you at this three-month-old establishment, stop reading and use the free time that now stretches out before you to do something nice for a stranger. If, on the other hand, you found a few passages somewhat hazy, I’ll be happy to do my job.”

“This “modern global exchange” is what we critics like to call a “restaurant.” “International culture” must refer to the menu. I could see how it might be romantic and mystical if you are sexually attracted to gelatinous sea creatures. As for “dynamic love affair,” you are going to have to ask Google. I have absolutely no idea.”

Writing in a “can you top this?” style isn’t unique to the restaurant industry. Overuse of buzzwords also appears to be the rise, and we see frequent evidence across categories, from media to design to travel. Yet clear, simple language is preferred for these five reasons:

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Guy Fieri Satire Site Goes Viral

What’s a little Internet mockery when many already see your brand as low-hanging fruit? After Pete Wells‘s scathing New York Times review of Guy Fieri‘s new restaurant went viral, we said “meh”. Nobody ever mistook Fieri’s brand for fine dining, so we felt like all this negative attention might actually be good for him.

Now Fieri is in the news again: a certain Internet jokester realized that Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar had yet to secure its own URL and decided to create his own as a joke.

At this moment, the site consists of a single-page mock menu hawking hilarious items like the “Olive Garden” side salad, “Football: the Meal” and “Guy’s Big Balls”, or “two 4-pound Rice-A-Roni crusted mozzarella balls endangered with shaved lamb and pork and blasted with Guy’s signature Cadillac Cream sauce until dripping off the plate.”

Again, we can’t see this stunt damaging Fieri’s reputation. But the copy is pretty funny.

Will Terrible Reviews Hurt the Guy Fieri Brand?

Guy FieriYesterday, quite a few food fanatics shared The New York Times writer Pete Wells’s epic takedown of Guy Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant. Wells wrote the review as a series of scathing rhetorical questions for the chain’s founder. Examples include:

  • “Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?”
  • “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?”
  • “What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?”

He keeps going for two pages; it’s a little intense.

We really like Pete Wells. He’s a true “subject matter expert”, and nearly every major media outlet mentioned his review at some point over the past 48 hours.

Here’s the thing, though: his write-up (and the many other negative reviews sure to follow) probably won’t hurt the restaurant’s business or damage the multimillion dollar Fieri brand. The Guy isn’t known for the quality of his food; he’s known for being a regular Joe who shows up on TV all the time looking like a he just lost a dare involving a vat filled with Axe hair gel and bleach. The whole point of his show is that mediocre food is fun, and he’s very good at marketing and product placement.

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