Details Are Emerging On The Celebrity Chefs Who Refused To Partner With Donald Trump’s DC Hotel

08.30.16 2 years ago

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Contrary to what poll numbers and Republican primaries might tell you, there are some consequences for being a hateful bigot on the national stage. For example, Donald Trump couldn’t find any celebrity chefs to fill the restaurant space in his brand new swanky hotel in Washington DC that’s mere blocks from the White House.

The hotel was sent into crisis mode when chef José Andrés (who we’ve featured before for his legit Kobe beef and interesting mojitos) pulled out of the hotel in the most public way imaginable. A few months before the planned opening, Andrés announced his decision to cut ties with Trump in the Washington Post. Shortly thereafter, Geoffrey Zakarian did the same and pulled his restaurant from the hotel.

According to court documents obtained by Washingtonian, Trump couldn’t convince any celebrity chefs to look past the downside of being associated with him and fill the space, even with the hotel’s luxurious look and primo location.

Cathal Armstrong, Fabio Trabocchi, Stephen Starr, Richard Sandoval and Eric Ziebold were all named in the documents as chefs who liked the project, but considered the association with Trump to be “too much to swallow.”

“All the chefs know each other, and I think they were just staying away from it at the time this was all going down… They were all very politically correct and said, ‘We’re avoiding it for political reasons,’” said Jeffrey Pollak, the man charged whose company Streetsense was hired to help fill the space, in a deposition.

Ultimately, Trump settled for the high-end steakhouse chain BLT Prime to fill the space left by Andrés. That might look like a win until you consider that BLT already has restaurants in several of Trump’s properties (and has nowhere near the cachet of the celebs they were hoping to pull in), and they own a second BLT property just a few blocks away. And that second restaurant vacancy? Say hello to the Trump Hotel’s yuuge unplanned conference room.

(Via Washingtonian)

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