We got an e-mail today, and not a happy one at that, from Jason Neroni, the young chef outed by Gawker as the author of an e-mail urgently soliciting Beard Award nominations. We released the missive last week, under the headline “Chef’s Desperate Plea: Nominate Me for an Award!”
What did he have to say?
His quite reasonable response:
First and foremost, it was a representative of the James Beard House who suggested that I call and email all of my friends and urge them to vote for me. At this suggestion, I emailed a few of my friends (obviously among which was someone not so much interested in my privacy as their own) to make a tongue-in-cheek “desperate plea” for their votes. This was not a mass email to industry professionals, but a quick note to people who have supported me throughout my career, both personally and professionally (my mother and brother were on the recipient list).
Neroni then criticizes our “tabloid-style, yellow journalism.” (We prefer the term “muckraking,” but that’s us.) Soon enough, though, he’s spreading some love:
I would also like to point out for the record, that I respect Danny Meyer and his restaurants, and used him as an example in my email only to draw a parallel between asking his employees to vote for his restaurants in the Zagat’s, and me asking a few friends to nominate me for a James Beard Award. The bottom line is that I run a small restaurant in Brooklyn without the resources and clout to compete with the big guys in Manhattan, so yes, I have to be self-promotional if I intended to make Porchetta a mainstay.
And to that end, he closes his letter thusly: “I sincerely hope that we will see you all in the restaurant again, and would like to extend an invitation to the first of our monthly Red Waddle Suckling Pig and beer roasts this Sunday.”