Did Personal Feelings Creep Into Critic’s Digs at Firenze Osteria?

Photo: Firenze Osteria

Today Fabio Viviani throws a counter-punch at L.A. Times critic S. Irene Virbila, alleging that her slam of his restaurant Firenze Osteria was tainted by personal feelings. Viviani first tells Yumsugar that he doesn’t “give a sh*t” about the ZERO stars his food was rated, saying he found no basis in reality for the harsh words after carefully considering the story with staff. He then suggests that the pointed negativity stems from Virbila’s friendship with his former father-in-law and business partner, whom he split with in fall, and that maybe he’s not getting his wine supplied from one of the critic’s darlings. So what did the chef say?

In response to the review, the chef says,” Would it make me happy to get three stars from her? Absolutely. But I don’t buy wine from her husband, and I don’t hang out with my ex-business partner as she does… I’ve done nothing to her. She has time to do these kindergarten things, so be it. Everybody on my staff was in a bad mood for a week, and I told them: Guys, that is just a single person.”

Though he feels the review was “one of the greatest things to happen” as supportive fans apparently responded in chorus, allegations that the critic was just out to get him are quite serious and could appear themselves to have been made for vengeance. We were a little surprised that a critic who once said she hates ““writing negative reviews” would so easily call a chef’s creations “Italian Food for Dummies,” but would truly be bowled over if she wasn’t speaking from her heart.

What do you think? Did the review ring true to you or did it seem needlessly brutal? We’d love to know your opinion in the comments.

Fabio Viviani Touches on Success and Setbacks [Yumsugar]
Earlier: S. Irene Virbila Slams Fabio Viviani’s Osteria
What to Eat at Fabio Viviani’s Firenze Osteria, Open Now in North Hollywood [Grub Street]
Fabio Viviani Confirms Cafe Firenze Firing [Grub Street]

Did Personal Feelings Creep Into Critic’s Digs at Firenze Osteria?