Come on in — as long as you’re not Neil Ganic.Photo: Kate Attardo
Brooklynites gladdened by news that Neil Ganic, the co-owner of Bouillabaisse 126 and Petite Crevette in Red Hook, has plans to reopen Lillie’s as a jazz club ought to consider talking to Emmanuelle Chiche. She’s Ganic’s soon-to-be-ex-business partner in Bouillabaisse 126 and has some pretty harsh words to say about the chef.
Chiche tells us that she has changed the locks on the restaurant to keep Ganic out because, she claims, he was “stealing stuff for his restaurant, using the staff to cook desserts for his restaurant, and harassing the chef to quit.” She also tells us that she is in the midst of trying to get free of him legally because, as she puts it, “He’s a liar and a sick man … I feel sorry for him, but I want him away from my family and my life.” Chiche is planning on transforming Bouillabaisse 126 into a French-African restaurant with her African-born chef, Abdul Traore, who will get the chance to give his Ivory Coast background full play.
Chiche isn’t the only one who accuses Ganic of odd behavior. Two neighborhood residents have been telling us for months about Ganic’s screaming bizarre obscenities in the middle of the sidewalk, muttering to himself incoherently, and making racist remarks to passersby. So terrified are they of the chef that they refuse to go on the record, for fear of reprisal. “He’s crazy, a drunk, and he’s dangerous at this point,” one said to us. “He’s totally fucking nuts, totally out of control.” Ganic, for his part, denies all the accusations, calling charges of his yelling in the street “outrageous,” and of Chiche, saying, “It’s a lot of crap … she can’t say things like that to me in public.” Red Hook has always been about unique personalities, right?