Keith McNally and his new restaurant Morandi were recently on the business end of Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni's bitch stick. So McNally did what all powerhouse restaurateurs seem to be doing recently in the wake of a harsh negging by Bruni—go totally postal. Jeffrey Chodorow, when his ghastly Kobe Club was flayed, claimed personal persecution; but McNally is of a savvier cloth. In what can only be termed a manifesto, published today on Eater, McNally claims that Bruni doesn't just hate Morandi, but hates all women.
Two weeks ago my restaurant, Morandi, and its female chef, Jody Williams, received a one-star rating from Frank Bruni of The New York Times. Prior to the review I was told by a number of chefs in the business not to expect anything above a token one star. Not because Morandi didn't deserve it (it's not for me to say), but because Bruni had never given a female chef in Manhattan anything more than one star, ever.... One can only wonder whether Bruni would still have his job at The Times if he himself was a woman. Based on the unremittingly sexist slant of his reviews one has to say no. The surprise is that The New York Times continues to condone it. But until it refuses to, its message, through Frank Bruni, is loud and clear: If you're a woman and talented, the one place you'd better get out of - and fast - is the kitchen.
Is this true? Is Bruni a closeted lady hater? A closer look at the review reveals Bruni's most charitable words were saved for Jody Williams, Morandi's chef and incidental proud owner of a vagina, who Bruni calls earnest and talented. We'll also look back at the kind review given to little lady-owned and operated shop Little Giant. Then, McNally, go ahead and find us ten other women head chefs in this town. —Josh