I was stirred up into a veritable foamy frenzy over Wednesday 7/3/02 Dining Out section, of NYtimes, which highlighted the secrets of Chefs who use packaged processed foods in their offerings. Most offensive to me, anyway, was Ms. Hamilton chef/proprietor of Prune in NYC, who questioned a collague of hers who dared to be innovative enough to make their own Trisuits rather than use the ones from the box.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Triscuits.
I do however have a problem with a chef who thinks triscuits and sardines constitute part of a good meal. In July 2002's Food & Wine, Ms. Hamilton's essat "Guess who's coming for dinner" discusses how generally, the people who live near her resatuarant aren't her real neighbors, that they can't appreciate her food, and she lambasts them for having "more utile things to spend their money on than a good meal."
(When did food culture become this exercise in elitism and exclusion?)
The assumptions that this "chef" -who puts a can of sardines on a cracker that's loaded with preservatives for freshness- is passing value judgments on potential patrons gauls me. I'm all for living your dreams and seeing through your vision of cuisine, blah, blah, blah... but maintaining that the people supporting the economy of the neighborhood you opened a business in--the people who make the neighborhood a nice place to have a restaurant in the first place--is a startling show of bad taste.
Chowhounds, please tell me whether Ms. Hamilton's attitude about the neighborhood is an anomaly among chefs and owners, or that she's in the throng and I just neveer noticed it before.