Le Cirque’s Sirio Maccioni may have given Daniel Boulud his start in New York, but the two super-chefs restaurateurs have a difference of opinion about staff roman à clefs like former Otto waitress Sara Barron’s forthcoming People Are Unappealing. Sirio dismissed concern about kitchen spies with a shrug. “Depends if he’s a good writer,” he considered. “I already wrote a book, I have a film, so I can care less. I never hide anything.” But Boulud was rankled by the thought.
“People will try to make money on other people’s business without even giving any warning. I think they should be punished. You should be able to take them to court,” he said at the Black Truffles and Blue Jeans benefit for Citymeals-on-Wheels at Daniel last night. (The host’s denim? Dolce & Gabbana.) “To me, it’s violating the liberty and trust you put in them to work with you. So more and more, I think we’re going to have to have the staff signing affidavits where they can’t do anything out of the house or they will be pursued, where everything happening in the house, with customer, with anything is non-public. If it’s in accordance with the owner, it’s fine. If it’s done secretly and the person provokes things in order to get more happening, that’s very bad,” he continued, citing “the waitress at Per Se [Phoebe Damrosch]” as another egregious example. “Those people, they are certainly categorized now, in our industry, as pffffft,” said Boulud, making a whistling sound and sweeping his hand to the side. “They are pushed out.”