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When John Mariani Speaks, Does Anybody Listen?

Our own Glenn Hunter (D CEO) is in New Orleans for the annual CRMA conference. He just attended a seminar with  John Mariani on the panel. Glenn writes:

Don’t know if it’s SideDish-worthy, but in his presentation regarding food trends he said that the celebrity-named restaurant era has played out–in part because everybody knows by now that “Emeril will never set foot in the restaurant.” I asked him afterward about Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant at Reunion, and he said it will be interesting to see how it does since Puck’s other non-L.A. restaurants haven’t fared well. Then he said, “If Wolfgang Puck shows up in Dallas every couple of months for a charity event or something that would be a good thing.”

I wonder how much CRMA paid Mariani to speak? I mean, seriously.

15 comments on “When John Mariani Speaks, Does Anybody Listen?

  1. Glen, When we first opened 11 years ago, Mr Mariani helped make our restaurant very successful. He put us in Playboy, Wine Spectator,Financial Times, Esquire, Town and Country, among others. The impact was powerful! I believe when he mentions a restaurant, foodies follow his advice. I owe him a great amount of gratitude.

  2. Great! Glenn emails Nancy, but do I hear from him?

    Welcome home, Al. Missed you!

  3. Yes, even though he writes for a men’s fashion magazine they listen.

    If he really said that about Emeril specifically he’s off base. I’m in New Orleans every couple of months and routinely see him in the kitchen. The staff there says he cooks at least 1 week a month, even after he was bought out by Martha, Martha, Martha.

    And the celebrachef thing is really not that new of a phenomenon so I would be surprised if their restaurants really begin to suffer (if that’s what he was saying was on the horizon).

  4. Replace “foodies” from Al’s post, with “people with expense accounts” and it’s probably pretty accurate..

  5. Al’s IS great whether you are a foodie or one with an expense account :-)

    I tend to agree with Mr Mariani, it was refreshing this weekend at Bolsa to see the investors there working, cooking, cleaning.

    I know I am tired of the over-blown ego type of places where even the staff look down their noses at you because you were actually successful enough to snag a reservation, disappointed you didnt order the tasting menu, and just completely done with you because you also didnt order the wine pairings.

  6. I was in the Dallas food media when Fearing’s opened. Mariani, a good friend of Dotty Griffith’s, missed his plane or something and missed the dinner. The next night I was in the bar at Fearing’s late and Dean and John were playing guitars outside of the bar and having a few cocktails. Six weeks later Fearings was one of the best in America. It had been open for 24 hours when Mariani ate there.

  7. Hey Ho, I think I know who you are. Dean Fearing told me that story about playing guitars with Mariani. I’ll have to go back and look, but I remember talking to Adam McGill who freelances for Esquire and we did the math on the timeline and it was way less than 6 weeks. Curious, isn’t it.

  8. ..enjoyed the post that Worzel linked to…
    The main problem with Mariani, as Glenn posited, is that you have to pay him to do anything…

    I disagree with snootyfoodie; Mariani is flailing wildly to hang on to any shred of significance. Personally, any endorsement by Mariani puts a restaurant on my “suspect” list. Not only because the food may be over-hyped, but also the integrity of the operators may be questionable.

    “played out?” Really? So if Battali opens a shop in Dallas (‘tho he pretty much swore he never would), given the general paucity of good Italian food here (and don’t give me that tired Il Mulino/Bice argument; comparing those to Babbo or Del Posto is just plain palate ignorance), that it would undoubtedly fail? Mesa Grill wouldn’t do well here? Heck, Flay might have been in Dallas more often than Tesar ever was.

    I learned 2 favorite new words in this thread. “Dicktails” and “douchebaggery”. LOL.

  9. Good thread all the way through. Worzel’s link is definately worth a look at if you haven’t already by now (thanks WG).

  10. To clarify, the masses still listen to Mariani. Those that posted above and the thousands like them take his endorsements with a grain of smoked sea salt.

  11. Great link, WG! A link within the link takes you to a response from Mariani’s editor that includes a photo of the business cards Mariani hands out at restaurants, with the recipe for his favorite dicktail printed on the back. If you ever see Mariani slurping on a dicktail, you know the restaurant knows who he is.