Q&A: Staphmeal, Georges Perrier’s Internet Nemesis

A chat with the anonymous blogger

Last week, I wrote an article on Foobooz about Staphmeal, the new blogger who is taking on some of the biggest names in the Philadelphia restaurant scene, most notably Georges Perrier, whose attorney is preparing for war. Yesterday, Staphmeal upped the ante with a post addressed directly to the attorney, and this morning announced that it had won the appeal over its suspended Twitter account. I checked in with him/her via Google Chat to see what all the fuss is about.

There are plenty of Philly food blogs. Why did you start Staphmeal?
No offense to you at all, but I think there are a lot of blogs out there that are, to be frank, boring. Informative, yes, but I wanted to do something that would catch people’s attention and do something different. There are a lot of people in this industry that get away with too much of treating people like shit. I want to make people aware of it, call them out. If your boss threw a plate at you, that would not be okay. So why is it in my industry?

You seem to be having a lot of fun with this.
We are. (I am actually just one person). Don’t get me wrong, though, it is a bit stressful. The fear of being outed, dealing with a rather serious attorney, the press, having to hear a lot of nasty things said about me, following up on leads, not being able to post from the same place twice (IP address). Just keeping my cell phone battery charged is proving to be rather stressful.

Do you think that you will be outed?
It’s hard to tell. If it happens, it will happen, and I will deal with it. The odds of it happening is pretty high. But that won’t stop me.

You said you work in a restaurant. If outed, are you prepared to leave town?
I’ve played with the idea, and no, I don’t think I will leave right away. I’ll deal with it. Not run. I’ve gotten a few job offers from this, which kind of surprised me. One from a restaurant workers rights organization in NYC. The other from a media company. I’m not at liberty to say whom.

If you are hauled into court, what’s your legal defense?
The First Amendment. Protecting my sources. The fact that I have not printed anything that was false.

You’ve taken on Perrier and Vetri, but no Starr, Garces or Solomonov. Do they have immunity?
Starr is who I am after. I’ve been working on something about him for a while, and his time is coming. I have complete and utter disdain for that man. As far as Garces and Solomonov, they have immunity from me. They both run good companies. They treat their employees well.

Just how badly does Restaurant Week really suck for restaurant workers?
IT SUCKS. It doesn’t stop. We are overworked, and the people we have to deal with is not the normal clientele. And as where at most restaurants during normal times, most people get two courses, during Restaurant Week, everyone gets three. Kitchens collapse. Everyone is tired and cranky. It’s just a way for restaurant owners to balance their checkbooks after a long summer. Donate portions of Restaurant Week proceeds to charity, and it will have my stamp of approval.

Lastly, what are your three most despised restaurants in Philadelphia and why?
Well, not including any of the places I’ve already written about … Rouge because of the people who eat there. Johnny Brenda’s because the service is the worst service in mankind. And Zavino because the service and food are both catastrophic. Oh, and I hate Parc. It is one of the most unoriginal restaurants in Philly, a carbon copy of Pastis in New York.