Chefs Mouth Off! Totally Anonymous, Deliciously Juicy

In addition to ranking the 50 best restaurants in the January issue of Philadelphia magazine, we also conducted an anonymous survey of local chefs and restaurateurs to get their take on the state of the dining scene and boy, did they ever tell us how they really feel!

The questions were wide-ranging, covering everything from who they think are the town’s most underrated chefs to which restaurants are the most overrated to what they really think about their customers. What did we learn? Well, the restaurants they think are the best are also the some of the ones they think are most overrated. They admire both Jose Garces and Stephen Starr, but they also think Benny Lai of Vietnam deserves major props. They, unsurprisingly, spewed some serious vitriol about Yelp. A lot of them know what Craig LaBan looks like (although we neglected to ask how many might throw him out of their restaurant if he showed up). They are confused about the suburbs and optimistic about Philly’s pizza situation. Basically, they’re all over the map.

Check out the PDFs from the issue below.

Chefs Mouth Off – Pages 1, 2 (PDF)
Chefs Mouth Off – Page 3, 4 (PDF)
View all Four Pages Together (PDF)

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  • blerg

    This was cool. Interesting to see just how much contempt chefs really do have for the general dining public. What was the sample size?

    I would like to know which a-hole made the “women and children” remark about best-of lists.

  • Jimmy

    Enjoyable piece. Chefs are notoriously arrogant, as many of these remarks reflect. They are also jealous SOBs! Somehow, despite several Beard awards, packed houses every night, and consistently good food, all three of Vetri’s places are “overrated.”

  • donna

    I semi agree with what they had to say about yelp, I caution people all of the time about trusting reviews there being people can be interesting and not review on the things that matter nor consider the impact it’ll have on a business….then I have a dining experience like the one I had at a restaurant recently and it reminds me of why it’s a necessary evil and that chefs/restaurant owners should use it to their advantage by improving in the areas they need to.

    Totally agree about letting the actual business know about the problem first, or at least also let them know so that they can improve unless it was something insanely terrible that makes one wonder why they own a business in the first place.

  • Jennifer

    “I’m in the hospitality industry. I don’t get annoyed at my customers.” As a chef myself, I would like to shake this person’s hand. What a great big flip-off to all these chefs with overblown egos, bad attitudes and entitlement issues (who seem to be pretty well-represented in the spread). Good to know that not all of us are arrogant, contemptuous a-holes. Enjoyable piece, thanks!