Over the weekend The Post explored the possible reasons for the shocking split between the iconic Four Seasons restaurant and Michelin starred chef Fabio Trabocchi just three months into their partnership. None of the paper's "inside sources" will be identified (except Tim Zagat, who gives a throwaway quote), so it's mostly a guessing game. Let's play:
1) Regulars don't like change: "'There were issues with [some longtime] customers,' says one restaurant insider. 'They complained that the food was not the same. They want grilled fish, steamed vegetables -- hospital food'....Trabocchi may have done too much too soon." Apparently, he was adding crazy items like spaghetti with sea urchin and crab and spicy chilis. It was almost as bad as when a chef in 1987 added a pat of green butter to the center of the house hamburger. The horror!
2) He used lard: "Pork fat is a fashionable ingredient with modern-day foodies but would likely shock regulars accustomed to the restaurant's longtime emphasis on light, healthy fare."
3) His food costs were too high: "Recent reports from those who've dined at the Four Seasons have been overwhelmingly positive but in the end, finances may have trumped stars." Further support for that argument here.
4) It was all about Fabio: Says the niece of co-owner Julian Niccolini: "It is a restaurant with a soul of its own, not a new place seeking an image or identity. If Mr. Trabocchi intends to bring a revolutionary climate to a restaurant and is seeking a great stage to promote himself, it should be at a restaurant that he owns himself."
Other reasons cited in the article: clashing egos, a generation gap, "the vagaries of running a high-volume restaurant", issues involving the unionized kitchen. Or, perhaps it should be considered that all parties involved are a little crazy.
· One Toque over the line [NYP]