Small-time London food blogger Paul Turner wanted to review the £150-a-head Michelin-starred Gauthier Soho, so last week he emailed the restaurant: "[I] would love to visit Gauthier Soho soon so I can write a positive review I was wondering if you would want to feature and arrange a review meal?"
Thing is, Gauthier Soho is a real restaurant that does not serve comped meals, or prearranged "review" meals, and head of marketing James Lewis is tired of being asked. So he tweeted a screenshot of the email, which included Turner's contacts, and that violates Twitter's terms. Lewis's account, along with several others that retweeted him, got suspended. (The karmic blowback against Turner forced him to take his blog, the Hungry Londoner, offline as well.)
Thankfully, this didn't turn into an all-out chef-Twitter bullying war, like the one that London chef Claude Bosi and his peers waged against a blogger who dared to write a blasé review of his two Michelin star restaurant in 2012. Lewis defended himself in the Independent, saying the average Gauthier diner "[has] checked us out in four of five difference places, including newspaper reviews, a smattering of blogs, Google itself, which is now linked to the Zagat Guide, and on Twitter." Of course that means "everything is intertwined," but Lewis doesn't seem daunted, which is one of the stranger aspects of the story, that restaurant personnel accept that rooting out spurious requests and reviews is now just a routine part of their daily workload. "Thankfully, if people are trying to abuse this area," he says, "they can't do it for very long because they will be exposed."