Wine and dine Wednesdays: Irritated with Mike Isabella
So Mike Isabella is going to open Bandolero, a Mexican restaurant in what used to be Hook in Georgetown, just months after the Italian-inspired Graffiato, his first restaurant, opened in Chinatown. Tom Sietsema broke the news in the Washington Post yesterday ... or did he?
Eater DC reports that food blog Endless Simmer had the story first, from an interview with the Food Network's Giada de Laurentis, who was in D.C. this weekend and dined at Graffiato. None of the rumors were confirmed by Isabella's camp, and when word got back to the chef, he denied everything, saying, "It’s not true. The only thing I have is Graffiato.” Apparently Isabella wanted to give Sietsema the exclusive, so he lied to Endless Summer. Not cool. (City Paper also reported on the back-and-forth.)
If all this wasn't enough to convince you that Isabella's kind of insufferable, and you didn't watch either of the Top Chef seasons on which he was a supremely unlikeable contestant, let me rehash some of the quotes from the Sietsema piece to hammer my point home:
While Umbel owns the building, Isabella says he has '100 percent control' over Bandolero. 'It will be my vision, my food, my way or the highway,' says the 36-year-old New Jersey native, who plans to play an active role in the kitchen but also hire a chef de cuisine with name recognition.
For emphasis, here's a video in which he explains how people might mistake his sarcasm for misogyny and how he makes no mistakes:
He told Sietsema, “My ultimate goal is to open more restaurants and hire executive chefs to oversee the properties.” I wonder whose way or the highway will it be at those theoretical establishments. UGH.
Food news that doesn't annoy me:
• The DC Central Kitchen's annual Capital Food Fight fundraiser is Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building. Tony Bourdain! José Andrés! Ted Allen! The battling chefs include Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed, Haidar Karoum of Proof and Estadio, Jeff Black of Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, and Brian McBride of Blue Duck Tavern. More info and tickets, which are $200, here.
• Metrocurean has the details on Little Serow, Komi's new walk-in only, $45 communal restaurant. She's also got the scoop on Parc Deux, which will go in the old Shirt Laundry at 14th and Q streets NW.
• Well, actually, this is annoying: The non-year-round farmer's markets are closing down! 14th and U, Mt. Pleasant and H Street stop on Nov. 19, Bloomingdale on Nov. 20, and Foggy Bottom on Nov. 23. Columbia Heights goes another month til Dec. 17, along with Penn Quarter, which quits on Dec. 22.
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