I was out of the office all day yesterday and returned to find an inbox with several notes from upset friends. The messages basically said “I can’t believe what Jennifer did to you in the Tom Colicchio interview” and “DallasFood.org said Tom Colicchio threw you under a bus!”
So, I just sat down and read Jennifer’s interview with Craft Dallas’ Tom Colicchio in which he says that last year I printed “some gossip that wasn’t accurate at all.”
This is a long story and it goes back to last spring when rumors were swirling around Dallas that N9NE and Craft were in trouble. I was in Aspen for the Food and Wine Festival. At the opening night soiree, a lot of Dallas folks in attendance and several big names in the Dallas restaurant biz came up to me and said, “Craft is changing to Craftbar.”
The next morning, I went straight to Tom Colicchio and asked him point blank. I printed his reply verbatim. Two weeks later, my cell phone rings and it is TC. He calls me a rumormonger because I speculated that something might change. Read the old report. What? I can’t voice an opinion? I don’t think I printed “some gossip that wasn’t accurate at all.”
What. Ever. So, we talked about an hour–specifically about blogging and how it differs from print product and how things on the Internet can get out of hand so fast–and ended on nice terms. He said if I ever needed to ask him a question, fire away. He is a man of his word.
Fast forward to a month or so ago. I get an e-mail from Craft’s local PR firm. They are interested in holding the SideDish Supper Club at Craft. I wrote (paraphrasing) “I called you folks before to get TC to do a SDSC and nobody called me back.” PR gal says lemme get back to you. She e-mails back and says TC is coming to town to do a wine dinner. Do I wanna talk to him? I say, sure.
Then a SideDish reader leaves a comment under the announcement of said wine dinner intimating that TC is no longer the owner of Craft Dallas. It reads, “Now that he [Colicchio] no longer owns the place, and signed a licensing agreement with the owners of the hotel, he is contractually obligated to be at the restaurant X times per year. What a shame.”
SO, as a recovering rumormonger and a woman of my word, I e-mailed the PR gal and asked her to verify or deny what the commenter said. I copy and pasted the comment and wrote: “Someone left this comment on the blog. Could you confirm or deny. I don’t want to leave comment out there if it isn’t true. Thanks, Nancy.”
The next day I get this reply from local PR gal: “I want to be sure to clarify that Tom is not doing a series of dinners at Craft. He’ll be part of the wine dinner next week, but each time he’s in Dallas, we expect his agenda to be different. In fact, with the filming of “Top Chef,” we’re not even sure when he’ll be able to make it back to Dallas again this year. Also, Tom’s name is still on the restaurant, and he is very much involved with the concept and menu. We would love to talk more about hosting SideDish’s Supper Club at Craft!”
I took a pass on talking to Colicchio because I originally (January) wanted to explore the idea of doing a Supper Club and that wasn’t going to happen because he would have just thrown his own wine dinner. And frankly, I didn’t appreciate getting such a flabby answer from the TC folks.
And that’s the facts.