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Here’s a novel way to respond to a bad review: review the critic. Tom Sellers, chef-patron of the one Michelin star Restaurant Story in London has responded to a recent one star review of his new restaurant by the London Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler with a tongue-in-cheek, but cutting assessment of her reviewing powers.
Maschler had visited Restaurant Ours, Tom Seller’s new enterprise in West London, twice and was damning of pretty much everything about it in her review, from the food to the decor, to the staff and the music. You can read the full horror show here.
Not to be outdone, the famously forthright Sellers had this to say in response: “Whilst reading the review, I couldn’t help but think that maybe Fay had done one too many restaurants that week, which had left her unable to correctly identify the ingredients in the dish placed before her. The red mullet escabeche consisted of onion, fennel and purple carrots – no beetroot or red cabbage as mentioned (red cabbage in May, I ask!)."
He continues: "I’d like to discuss the salmon part of your dinner, Fay. As you know, you ate risotto which I cooked personally and it consisted of peas, broad beans, asparagus and mint. How was this? I couldn’t find your views anywhere in the review. The salmon was eaten by your friend, though I did see you try it later on."
Sellers says he’s grown tired of critics bringing up his past (he trained under both Rene Redzepi and Thomas Keller): “Truly, I long for the day when a critic breaks rank and resists name-dropping every chef that I have worked for. I am extremely proud of my career to date but surely now, three years and three restaurants later, it can be left to the hundreds of reviews gone before?”
He then offers Maschler an olive branch of sorts: "I am deeply saddened that no part of Fay’s experience at Ours was enjoyed, including the choice of music. Is there a genre that wouldn’t have been criticised at that stage? Perhaps we should employ Fay as our musical director going forwards."
Sellers finishes with this and it's devastating: "The most beautiful thing about food is what it reveals in those who engage in it. Thank you for the review." There's plenty more: read Tom Sellers' response in full over on his blog. Maschler, it's over to you.