We hope at least you have a smile on your face, because no one involved in this story had a very good time. Giant, one of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants, hosted what diners (including food media influencers) thought would be an exclusive preview of chef Jason Vincent’s new menu, Three Moons. The invitation promised free wine, food, and notified guests that cameras would be rolling for promotional purposes. But many diners left feeling disgusted, deceived, and one particular ‘tastemaker’ felt straight up irate.
What awaited the first seating was not what the crowd expected. In a failed marketing stunt with Glad Products plastic wrap, Giant served the group of influencers and media guests food made three days prior (hence the tongue n cheek name Three Moons) and preserved in plastic wrap. Only the chef didn’t reveal this fact until after the guests had eaten. Some left disgusted and taken aback by the surprise. On hearing word of this stunt prior to the second seating of guests, Adam Sokolowski was absolutely not having it.
Read his story posted on Instagram below.
Sokolowski left before his 8:30 seating, but not before giving Vincent a piece of his mind, writing: “I was incredulous, but managed to promptly tell Jason Vincent that what he’s doing is unethical, potentially a violation of his license, and definitely a complete dereliction of hospitality.”
Sokolowski felt misled by his invitation, reiterating that it wasn’t about the age of the food, but rather that Giant’s partnership with Glad Products was never disclosed nor was the fact that the food was pre-prepared. It’s clear to us that the angle Glad was hoping for was that of a pleasant surprise, but perhaps those types of stunts are better used on the general public and not a group of influencers and food media guests who are used to being catered to and not exactly known for having great senses of humor. Not mentioning Glad may have been necessary for the surprise to work, but for Sokolowski and others who walked out, it felt like an unprofessional lack of transparency on the part of the PR firm who sent out the invitations for making themselves appear to represent Jason Vincent and not Glad.
According to Eater Chicago contributor Elizabeth Atkinson, who was amongst the first group of guests, diners were asked to sign a consent form and were paid $300 at the dinner. If they happened to be used in the promotional material they’d receive another $1,000. Guests were served fresh smoked ribs and a freshly made shaved zucchini salad. The only Glad wrapped food was oil-packed peppers, confit potatoes, coleslaw, and butter lemon cake. All food that certainly doesn’t need to be fresh in our opinion, except maybe the potatoes.
And… checking facts… They also got free booze? Well now hold on just one minute. Was this a silly stunt that probably shouldn’t be have been pulled on this particular group of people? Definitely. But no one was forced to sign any forms, so we can’t fully sympathize with Sokolowski’s viewpoint.
A spokesperson for Giant has since apologized, explaining “When we heard feedback from the first seating, we decided to remove the element of surprise for the second seating…Our intent was to showcase these techniques in a unique way…” and they also reassured diners that this stunt was a one-time occurrence.
Sokolowski wrote in his Instagram post, “Saran Wrap is not an ‘interesting preservation technique,’ even when they pay you thousands to say that.” Agreed! And it’s a bum deal when people who get paid for influencing (which is a real job whether you want them off your lawn or not) are tricked into a #ad, since that’s what they get paid for. But also… ONE MILLION SHRUGS.
There is enough outrage in the universe. Let’s smile over this one.