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Neroni v. Cutlets Scruffle Ended, No Serious Injuries Reported

Rare is the restaurant industry cage match that we don't like to wade knee-deep in, but this week provided an exception. The least we can do now is provide you the post-game show. It all started on Tuesday when The Cutlets posted a note from an undisclosed chef regarding some self-promoting he was doing viz. getting himself a Beard Award. He called said chef 'desperate.' Gawker then did the thing that they do and pretty soon said chef had been revealed as none other than 71 Clinton alum and Porchetta chef Jason Neroni. Neroni and his people were none too happy that he'd been outed--not only was Jason's plea very self-serving at first blush, but it also included a jab at Danny Meyer, which, if you're an aspiring chef, you simply do not do.

This brings us to yesterday, when Neroni drafted a response to Mr. Cutlets and sent it off to the Meat Man. (He also sent us a copy for good measure, which is below. Tee hee.) Responsible blogger that he is, Cutlets posted the response this morning, classifying Neroni's note as quite reasonable and putting the incident mostly to bed. Interestingly, however, he did not drop the 'desperate' label he'd given the chef on Tuesday.

All in, on the restaurant industry kurfuffle scale, this one gets a 7.5. Job well done, chaps.
· Chef's Desperate Plea: Nominate Me for a Beard Award! [Cutlets]
· If Danny Meyer Does It, It's Not Illegal [Gawker]
· Piggy Self-Promoter: Jason Neroni? [Gakwer]
· Jason Neroni Breaks His Silence on Being a 'Desperate Chef' [Cutlets]

Dear Mr Snitch,
I am sure that you can surmise that I was not thrilled to find my picture and personal email reprinted on the Grub Street website yesterday, and I would like to take a few minutes to respond.

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). I am very disappointed in Grub Street’s choice to reprint a personal email without first doing any fact checking, giving me a chance to respond, or even verifying its accuracy or provenance. I would have expected more from a New York Magazine publication, and am doubly disappointed to see Grub Street opt for tabloid-style, yellow journalism.

In this vein, 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. Regardless of any nomination from The James Beard Foundation or any other, I am doing something that I still love to do and am proud of. I appreciate the support that New York Magazine has given me in the past. 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.

Jason Neroni

PS As for my punctuation skills… how’s your Porchetta?