It’s happened again. Food review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor give diners free rein to slam any restaurant experience they consider less than top-notch these days. Which means that it’s easy to get drunk with rage-fueled power and forget that establishments actually do read the reviews in attempt to improve service and/or rectify situations. And sometimes, sometimes, the chefs bite back at their one-star reviewers.
This most recent example comes from Birmingham, England’s Purnell’s, a Michelin-starred restaurant whose chef, Glynn Purnell, has been in the cooking business since he was 14 years old.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough for diner 714missy, who dined at Purnell’s last December with three friends and found the meal… wanting. Which she then proceeded to go on and on about in a typo-filled, one-star TripAdvisor manifesto:
Finely shreeded pickled cucumber!!!!!
Lemon meringue pie tin hats!!!!
Pies ceremoniales cut in half!!!!
Approximately a serving spoon of Beetroots!!!
714missy had apparently been to several Michelin-rated restaurants in the past, and suggested that chef Purnell might learn a bit more about his business from watching Master Chef. For his part, Purnell wasn’t having it. After trying unsuccessfully to contact the reviewer to settle the matter more privately, he responded to the review with a point-by-point defense of his own:
His main beef: at no point during the evening did 714missy complain about the service or lack of food. Perhaps this was done to save the rest of the party from embarrassment, but, he states, “I am embarrassed for them not having enough courage to express themselves on the evening. These are 4 adults all upset by their dining experience who ate all 6 courses without once alerting us to the fact that they were not enjoying it.” He points out that the waitstaff would have tried to offer a satisfactory alternative to her problems, had they known. Purnell also brings up the fact that the party was not, in fact, charged extra for the monkfish, as the reviewer claims.
The cherry on top of Purnell’s whipped-cream review: “Perhaps this reviewer would have more satisfaction from watching Man versus Food.”
As in, the now-canceled TV show that saw host Adam Richman stuffing himself full of 22-pound pizzas. Touché, Purnell.