Chef Responds To Account Of Michelin-Starred Dining Experience From Hell [Updated]

The chef at Bros' in Lecce, Italy, responded to a viral article with an illustrated three-page document.

Update, December 10, 2021: The chef has spoken. Intrepid TODAY reporter Randee Dawn asked a Bros' rep for comment, and the rep sent over a three-page document entitled "Declaration by Chef Floriano Pellegrino." TODAY reprinted the document in its entirety, but here are some highlights:

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  • A (rather good) drawing of a man on a horse preceding the following statement: "Being able to draw a man on a horse does not make you an artist."
  • The argument that "drawing a man on a horse is the same as making food," which suggests that not everyone who makes food can be reasonably classified as an artiste.
  • Insistence that "a chef should not offer easy answers," which seems like a feeble excuse for serving paying customers a yellowish foam in a mold of the chef's mouth.
  • The treatise also ended in the snottiest way possible. "We thank Mrs. XXX—I don't remember her name—for making us get to where we had not yet arrived," Pellegrino writes. I! Don't! Remember! Her! Name! The bad boy chefs must be stopped.

    Original post, December 9, 2021: A Michelin-starred dining experience is certainly alluring. It's hard not to buy into the hype—until you realize that the Michelin list is just like any other list, except this one exists to help sell tires. Gastronomy is subjective, and one man's five-star meal could be another man's foamy 27-course dinner from Hell. Enter Geraldine DeRuiter, the food and travel blogger behind The Everywhereist, who recently published a recap of what must be the worst meal in Michelin history.

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    DeRuiter recounted her experience at Bros', the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Lecce, Italy. (Quick note: If you look at the restaurant's Michelin guide listing, chef Floriano Pellegrino looks like a circa 2006 Abercrombie & Fitch puffer coat model. And I don't mean that as a compliment.)

    Despite the restaurant's Michelin star and positive TripAdvisor reviews, the experience resulted in what DeRuiter called "very, very expensive theater" to the tune of a 27-course meal which spanned 4.5 hours and consistent mostly of portion sizes no larger than a tablespoon. DeRuiter writes:

    "I cannot impart this enough – there was nothing even close to an actual meal served. Some 'courses' were slivers of edible paper. Some shots were glasses of vinegar. Everything tasted like fish, even the non-fish courses. And nearly everything, including these noodles, which was by far the most substantial dish we had, was served cold."

    Highlights of the meal included:

    • 12 kinds of foam
    • Something that DeRuiter describes as "an oyster loaf that tasted like Newark airport"
    • A citrus foam served in a plaster cast of the chef's mouth 
    • A gelee-based "meat molecule" course served via eyedropper
    • The meal added up to between 130 and 200 Euros per person for what DeRuiter called "single-handedly one of the worse wastes of money in my entire food and travel writing career bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha oh my god."

      Please, I beg you: Read the full review on The Everywhereist if it's the only thing you do today.

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