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October 30, 2012

Is venting online really a professionally good idea?

I think it's safe to say that none of us like criticism. If it's constructive criticism, we can accept it and use it to make ourselves perform better. But it still sucks to hear it.

When you get what seems to you to be unfair criticism, it must be very hard to bite your tongue and go forward with the "everyone's entitled to their opinion" attitude. It can be even harder when the criticism is on the Internet, where you feel just a little bit removed from everything even if the criticism isn't from some anonymous troll.

Is it really a good idea to respond to it, though? Other than a "thank you for your thoughts" or something like that? And if you do respond (say the person criticizing actually gets something factually wrong in the course of expressing their opinion), wouldn't it be a good idea to be professional about it?

If you're a volatile chef in a fancy-shmancy restaurant (yes, that is a cut above just a fancy restaurant), then the answer to that question is obviously "no."

According to the Telegraph newspaper in the UK, a Milan chef vented his wrath at what he thought was a stupid review by food blogger Samantha Wood of his new venture in Dubai.

Probably not a good idea.

"For more than a century, Giannino restaurant in Milan, with its three Michelin stars, has drawn the great and the good, with its rustic charm and sepia-tinted photographs. But when a British food blogger reviewed the restaurant's new offshoot in the newly-opened exclusive Meydan Beach Club on Dubai's Jumeirah Beach, she felt the full force of the Milan restaurant's chef, after complaining about the prices and service."
She thought it was vastly overpriced, may not have been authentic Italian food, and thought the prosecco wasn't served properly (and if you're wondering what the proper serving is for prosecco, or even what prosecco is, join the club!).

The chef, Andrea Brambilla, replied by telling her to put a condom on her tongue to "contain the orgasm of your ignorance".

Ouch! I don't think any of my book reviews have been met that harshly, though I sometimes wonder what Harry Turtledove would say if he ever read one of them.

Anyway, he proceeded to correct her on the correct way to serve prosecco (who knew?) and then vented about her reaction to the prices and whether some of the food was authentic.

Most of that was nice correction of fact, but then it turned ugly. I encourage you to go read the article for the full force.

Commenters on her post were appalled, of course, and the head of the restaurant said that "His opinions are his own and are in no way representative of our team."

Of course he'd say that. And it's probably true, too.

I just don't get these people. You're supposed to be a professional. There are paying customers out there who pay attention to you. Why would you be an asshole about something like this?

Authors have to put up with bad reviews all the time. Some of mine have been pretty scathing. I've never received an email from one complaining about what I said (or least nothing that was anger-filled like that). You're driving away business, and the Internet is forever.

Don't think you can just delete what you said and it will all go away. It's out there, and it's permanent.

I guess we all let things get away from us at times. It would just be nice if when that happened, we were far away from the keyboard.

Something tells me this guy has too much pride to apologize, but we'll see whether anything comes of it. This story is almost a week old, so maybe that's happened by now.

What do you think? Would seeing a reaction like this cause you to not patronize an establishment, even if it wasn't directed at you?


  1. I love prosecco. And sometimes, I go off on the net. Luckily, I'm not a professional anything.

  2. Going off is one thing. I think it's kind of normal overall. But if somebody criticizes you professionally, it's usually not a good idea to respond in kind with that kind of rant.

  3. You're right, of course. It's not professional to show your ass.


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