louis ck has some brilliant standup making fun the culture of whining, which seems to be a mainstay of our modern world. at one point he talks about how people constantly whine and complain about their phones and he points out that just a scant few years ago we didn’t have the privilege of walking around with the very same “phones” or mini computers about which we all now complain. scathingly to the point.
i thought about louis ck’s routine as i read marc vetri’s tirade about food journalism.
marc vetri really has a problem with perspective here.
for those of you not familiar with vetri, he’s a 2005 james beard award winner for “best chef mid-atlantic”, named one of food and wine magazine’s “ten best new chefs”, owner of multiple restaurants in the philadelphia area, food blogger and prolific foodie on twitter, instagram and every other social media platform. he’s also very involved in the philadelphia schools and community.
i’ve only been to one of his restaurants and the food was delicious, the service excellent (except for the requisite snooty sommelier) and the bill substantial. c and i have long wanted to go to his flagship restaurant, vetri, but that would involve almost a mortgage payment. i’m not kidding (speaking as someone whose mortgage payment reflects a house purchased in 1989). vetri has a prix fixe tasting menu that costs $155 per person. yep, $155 per person. you can add wine pairings for $90 which will buy you 1.5 glasses of wine or you can purchase a bottle, which could run you about the same or substantially more. so you spend $310 for the food, say another $100 for the wine, $90 or so for tip and another $30 for parking or $60 for uber ride.
clearly, if you’re charging that kind of dough for a meal, the meal had better be every superlative anyone can think of (and maybe even then some). understandably, vetri he wants fine dining to have a different rating scale than other dining and he wants the food writer and reader to be as invested in all of his magnificence as he is.
at the end of the day, though, this is whole lot of whining and fighting over a simple necessity (food and nourishment) that has been turned into not just a first world problem, but a first world problem for the fraction of a percent who would be able to luxuriate in vetri’s bastion of fine dining.
while vetri spends his time whining about how food journalism is as stale as day old bread, i wonder how much of the world’s hungry belly would gladly accept that day old bread.