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.
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*UPDATE IN IG STORY HIGHLIGHT* NOTE: @scjohnson.afamilycompany requested that Saran Wrap be changed to Glad’s Press N Seal Cling Film __________________ Last night I was invited to try the new menu at @giantchicago by what appeared to be the PR firm representing @jasonvincent00 award-winning restaurant. We were very excited that we arrived early so we went next door to grab a drink at @scofflawchicago. The bouncer overhears us talking about how we’re having dinner next door and comes up to warn us that it’s a scam. He explains that he saw the first seating before us leave disgusted because they realized they were being served old food. Seeing as it was such a critically-acclaimed restaurant, I couldn’t believe it, so I texted my friend who I knew was in the first seating. She confirms the details and says it’s for a @gladproducts Glad’s Press N Seal Cling Film* commercial, but you don’t find out anything until the end when they ask you to sign a contract for exclusivity. I still can’t believe it, so I walk over to Giant for our dinner to see my other friend shaking his head saying he’s not going in either based on what he heard from the first seating. Chef sees us hovering outside reluctantly so he walks out to invite us in, and I tell him what I just heard. He acknowledges it and tries to placate us by saying the food is exactly how it’s prepared for the restaurant, just that it’s 3-days old but still tastes good! (He also mentions that he does it all the time at regular service at Giant…) I tell him fine, even if it is (which it was not based on the feedback from the first seating), when were you going to disclose this or your relationship with the brand? He said, “Oh, after the meal,” as if that was supposed to add an element of surprise and not disgust. 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. I walked away with three others. Glad’s Press N Seal Cling Film* is not an “interesting preservation technique,” even when they pay you thousands to say that.
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.