Row between Irish chef and restaurant critic intensifies on Twitter

30 August 2013 by
Row between Irish chef and restaurant critic intensifies on Twitter

A row between an Irish chef and a Sunday Independent food critic has taken a more bloody turn after a clumsily-doctored photo of the chef holding the critic's apparently cleavered head was posted on Twitter.

The dispute began after food critic Lucinda O'Sullivan wrote a damning review of Oliver Dunne and Rory Carvill's new Dublin venture Cleaver East, on 25 August.

Responding to the review, Dunne berated O'Sullivan on his restaurant blog, calling her write-up "sh*te", "completely inaccurate and unacceptable…verbal diarrhoea".

Accusing her of "looking for attention", he branded the review "arrogant" and said that he found it "unreal that you question our abilities… as someone who has never worked a day as a professional chef in your life". He then highlighted the many good reviews the restaurant has received from other Irish newspaper critics.

But now the flames have been fanned further after Oliver Dunne's own twitter account posted a photo of a framed, crudely-doctored image of the co-owners clutching meat cleavers and holding O'Sullivan's head cut off at the neck, accompanied with the words "Lol, look what I got in the post!". He didn't say who had sent it.

Initial reactions to the tweet were encouraging, but the debate quickly turned sour, with users condemning the move.

While @BeoirFinder, said: "You have to hang that somewhere in the restaurant", and Nitin Gautam (@Gautamnitin) called it "priceless", Paul O'Connor (@paulshoebox), self-professed "foodie" and O'Sullivan's reported dining companion at Cleaver East, called the photo "awful" and "in very poor taste".

Another user, @KarenCoakley, called it a "disgrace", adding: "We each are humans with feelings and families who hurt". Others condemned the post as threatening, disgusting and "out of order", and said it simply made the chef look petulant.

While The Irish Food Guide Twitter account had previously tweeted the image, it removed it after a backlash, simply saying that the row, dubbed "#LucindaGate", "might have a bigger impact on the relationship between Irish chefs and restaurant reviewers than we previously thought".

Dunne has since thanked his followers for "the positive response I'm getting regarding the @CleaverEast review". O'Sullivan has not yet made a formal reply.

Having trained with Gordon Ramsay and Gary Rhodes, Dunne currently holds a Michelin star for his restaurant Bon Appétit in Malahide, County Dublin.

This isn't the first time that an online row has erupted between diners and chefs. In 2012, Claude Bosi of Hibiscus, famously responded to blogger James Isherwood's bad review of his restaurant, arguing that the blogger had not made any complaints about the meal before leaving, so had forfeited his right to comment.

Isherwood deleted his account soon after.

Claude Bosi goes public after heated exchange with food blogger on Twitter >>

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