The Grasshopper Chronicles

October 5th, 2010 by Dick Johnson

 

GREATEST HITS: PX This [The Blahg / The Forum]

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SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2007. 12:40PM

Presenting: THE GRASSHOPPER CHRONICLES (Did Chef Jody Williams try to undermine her former boss by planting a grasshopper in a sandwich wrap?) by *Dick Johnson* – Archived at 59,823 Views

 

– March 20, 2007 : The saga begins here; Abbe Diaz (author, blogger, Forum launcher, "former maitre d’ to the stars" and girlfriend of Gusto Ristorante/ Centro Vinoteca /Mangia owner Sasha Muniak) comments about her dining experience at the newly opened Morandi. She writes:

"…i’ve pretty much refrained from commenting about Morandi, mostly because maybe it’s like too personal or some shit, but i must say that place works my every last nerve.
the thing i find utterly retarded is
clearly they have opted to keep some of the same things that still currently appear on the Gusto menu. okay fine all well and good. except
if you happen to comment on it (like to the bartender for example) they get all irritated and indignant like it’s APPALLING you would even mention it. i mean for fuck’s sake, if that’s the decision you make, i think you’d better get a fucking sense of humor about it…."

The entire comment remains here. (It’s definitely worth a read!)

 

 

– App. 5 hours later, a new Forum registrar logged-in as "Brook" responds, "I worked for hair plug muniak and it is going to be a pleasure to see him fail. Proper question on Gusto is why didn’t the new chef change the menu? Obviously Williams will cook what she learned in the 6 years she spent in Italy (only self taught female Italian chef in America) and just like Giorione and Il Buco, Gusto will not be about the food for long."

 

 

– Abbe immediately answers "Brook":

oh YEAAAH that’s what i’m talkin bout. i’m like a proud bricklayer right now– this place was built to keep it "real"

YOUR PUBLICIST CANNOT HELP YOU HERE MISS THING

a: name calling, "Brook" ?? yah that’s mature

b: and thanks for making my point. my point WAS:
who gives a shit what Williams cooks where. but WHY get all pissy if the patrons bring it up ?? did you REALLY think NOBODY was going to comment on the fact the menu is similar. get serious

c: AS IF Morandi is about the FOOD. aha ha ha hahah haaa that’s a good one.

d: sorry but Gusto was never about the fucking FOOD either. at least not to me, it wasn’t. and there was a time i was there at least once or twice a week.
i went first for the location. THEN the bar (it’s actually quite nice). THEN i kept going back so often because of artan.

e: yeah i bet you’d love to "see him fail." it’s called ENVY.
why don’t you do us all a favor and try holding your breath.

(**note: Abbe later clarifies, under this very same topic "…need i remind you this entire ‘drama’ was precipitated by a ‘validating member’ named ‘Brook.’ i will not tell you HOW i come to have very strong personal opinions on this matter, but perhaps it would behoove you to inquire, from someone with some technological experience, just how these interweb website forum thingies work exactly," essentially implying she has some behind-the-scenes knowledge regarding the true identity of "Brook.")

 

 

– The following day, March 21, 2007 – (the first of several unfavorable Morandi reviews) Steve Cuozzo of The NY Post declares Morandi a dud.

 

– The very next day, March 22, 2007 – A "dubious" photograph of a grasshopper in a sandwich wrap at Sasha Muniak’s Mangia (on 57th St) appears anonymously in the inbox of eater.com

 

 

The Morandi topic in this Forum progresses, as several commenters begin to imply the grasshopper incident is not a coincidence, having come so closely on the heels of Brook’s pejorative comment.

[**Worth noting: It was eater.com that first "broke the story" of chef Jody Williams leaving Gusto for Morandi establishing at least one prior correspondence between them.]

 

 

– Gawker.com "picks up" the item, stressing the similarity in menus between Gusto and Morandi.

 

– Almost immediately, eater.com attacks Abbe Diaz
The Eater "item" contains several falsehoods and inaccuracies (which are then brilliantly addressed and refuted by a PX This Forum Administrator/"Publicist.")

– The next day, eater.com concedes its misrepresentation–> http://ny.eater.com/archives/2007/03/who_is_abbe_dia.php

 

 

– Within the subsequent forum discussions, industry rumors surrounding Morandi, Keith McNally, Jody Williams (and Williams’ apparent friendship with eater.com’s Ben Leventhal) and her former boss, Sasha Muniak, begin to emerge.

It culminates with a Page Six parody, "JUST ASKING….
What tantrum throwing, egomaniacal hotspot chef is so psycho, it’s possible she tried to derail her former boss by resorting to sabotage? One day after the anonymous comment, "…it is going to be a pleasure to see him fail" appeared on an online restaurant industry insider forum, a mysterious, questionable, dubious photograph of an insect in a particular food item sold by said former boss (and current competitor), suddenly showed up at eater.com. What are the odds?"

 

 

– The next day, Jody Williams’ live-in girlfriend, Diana, registers for the PX This Forum and replies:
"I can say with 100% certainty that Jody has never been associated with any posting to this site. When Jody was asked by one of her cooks did you put a grasshopper in a Mangia wrap?’ she giggled and asked him what he was talking about. When she decided to leave Gusto, she telephoned Amanda Freitag and asked her if she wanted her job because she respected her as a chef and was friendly with her. In addition, opposed to much of the chatter on this site, she enjoyed working for Sasha Muniak saying on many occasions to me that he was one of the best bosses she ever had (I too like his gentle soul and really had a strong bond with his son Alexei). It appears that a lot of the posts written on this site are from the front of the house staff at Gusto who may have had run-ins with her. Its sad because I know when push comes down to shove she really did like everyone and enjoyed the two years that she spent there. She has been working extremely long hours without a day off in months getting her kitchen up to her standards. I also know that going from a restaurant that does 200 covers a night to close to 400 covers there is a lot of stress in sending out food that meets her standard. Does she yell? What chef doesn’t. Sorry I’m ranting on about this but it really is upsetting to see someone you love and respect be put over the ringer."

 

– Diaz responds:

hi Diana,
we’ve never met but i have heard of you through our mutual acquaintances, i’ve been told you are kind and sweet and very nice. i understand very much how upsetting it is to see "someone you love and respect" being spoken of in this manner. perhaps maybe now you understand my gut response to the commenter signed in as "Brook." i fully appreciate what you are saying, and am very grateful you took the time, energy, and effort to come here and address this issue.

i hope you appreciate my stance as well, i believe everyone is entitled to their say. i do not know whether this news will be unsettling to you or not, but i can assure you the majority of the commenters in this thread are NOT Gusto FOH staff, as i do happen to know several of the "members" personally, either having met in person, or through extensive correspondence over the last several months (i can’t speak for them ALL, as there are certainly members here whose identities i do not know). you may find this hard to believe, but it’s my experience that it is actually the Gusto staff who is most reluctant to discuss these matters, either here or in person. as i have mentioned, even i no longer dine at Gusto, as i have had personal problems of my own with the FOH staff.

you claim to know with "100% certainty" that chef-williams has no association with any posting here. i respect your conviction, but ask that you extend me the same courtesy when i reply to the contrary– i’m sorry, but it is my belief you are wrong.

as for chef-williams, she is now in the (unfortunate?) situation of being a "celebrity," and i do mean that in the strictest definition of the word. by virtue of her self-imposed foray into the limelight, she is now subject to scrutiny and all the consequences that go along with it. i think everyone that has commented here has been quite fair (unlike eater.com’s initial response), particularly in specifying their opinions are purely speculation and hearsay, and encouraging readers to form their own conclusions. i am VERY PROUD of those who have chosen to comment here, as it is my (vast) personal experience the internet CAN be a daunting and malicious place, often inspiring people to vociferate their worst, secure in their anonymity.

thank you again, and all the best to you and ms. williams.

 

 

– Fast forward several months, to a new Forum discussion of the impending opening of Sasha Muniak’s Centro Vinoteca with chef Anne Burrell (located mere blocks from McNally/Williams’ Morandi)

 

– Again, industry rumors emerge, this time involving Muniak’s offspring, who are, in short, said to be rambunctious, "arrogant", "unappreciative" and far too garrulous, to be good for Centro’s "image" amongst those who are, shall we say, esoterically informed.

 

– Eater.com jumps all over it, declaring, "Right Under Diaz’s Nose, the Worm Turns on Muniak." (June 28, 2007)

 

– (Forum Orator Extraordinaire) *Dick Johnson* observes, "LOL. When it comes to us, I think Eater (read: Ben Leventhal) would put a ‘negative spin’ on it, if we all got together and cured cancer."

 

 

– July 10, 2007- Eater.com "unveils" Centro Vinoteca

Within the comments section, a reader posts a disdainful remark about Muniak’s family, and signs it "Dick Johnson." A second commenter responds by attacking the PX This Forum, claiming "hating" and "drama" are "predictable" here.

 

 

– Immediately, the real *Dick Johnson* of PX This emphatically denies posting that comment. He writes:

"OK, I’m pissed.

I did not write that comment, and I think whoever did, is a ball-less cocksucker.

First of all, I have never hated on Centro or Gusto- I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for Abbe’s boyfriend (whatever his name is).

And if I had to guess, I would say a certain jealous, shit-eating chef, had everything to do with signing my "name" to that comment. Why don’t you go feed your fucking pet grasshoppers, you bitch."

 

 

– Abbe Diaz forwards that denial to eater.com, but is then accused of being an Abbe Diaz imposter.

 

 

– After a slight tumultuous anti-Centro wave descends on the PX This Forum, the rally behind Muniak begins to re-shape after a (cute and happy) member named *Ferret-n-Chicken!* reminds and suggests, "just think about how everybody says Sasha is a really nice guy, and also I know I’m definitely curious to see what that Iron chef chick can do!!!"

 

– Less than 2 hours later, William’s girlfriend reappears and comments,

"You guys are really a bunch of assholes. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Jody doesn’t read reviews, go on blogs etc. I don’t know why I care but I do. People tell me consider the source with this site but I don’t listen to them. Jody quit Gusto and gave unlimited notice. Jody replaced herself in the kitchen. It took three people to replace her…the chef at gusto, sarah at Mangia and Anne at Centro. (thanks to Mark Latner because he wasn’t interested so he referred Sasha to her). Sorry guys but Morandi is not a failure, Jody could cook when Sasha asked her to stay and she can cook now. Morandi’s front of the house is run better than any establishment that Jody has worked in NYC. And for the last time, Jody is way too busy at Morandi to go online with some bullshit fake name and verbally abuse Gusto/Mangia/Centro. Perhaps Craig was right when he said that the only way that Abbe Diaz can get attention on this blog is to stir up fake controversy. Every f’n subject seems to mention Jody. Seriously, are you insane?
Good thing that Giorgio didn’t get one of his lackies to attack Jody when Sasha lured her away from him.
Simply Unbelievable.

 

– Diaz responds:

sigh

hi diana
nice to see you again

and again, i will say as well, i welcome your input as i do all others.

i appreciate your anger, as i’m sure i would react strongly (in probably a similar manner), given the circumstances.

but
everyone here is entitled to their opinion too. and if you’ll notice (as i did) not one person has used jody’s name in this thread. i believe that is an act of sincere consideration that proceeded completely unprompted, even by me.

as for my alleged attempts to "get attention" by stirring up "fake controversy"

well. need i remind you this entire "drama" was precipitated by a "validating member" named "Brook." i will not tell you HOW i come to have very strong personal opinions on this matter, but perhaps it would behoove you to inquire, from someone with some technological experience, just how these interweb website forum thingies work exactly.

i am going to leave it at that, because BELIEVE IT OR NOT, this particular subject is starting to become rather tiresome to me as well.

all the best to you and ms.williams

if you have any further questions and/or comments, i am happy to accommodate them.

all i ask is you please refrain as best you can from calling my members "assholes." although i’m sure their skins are rather thick and can withstand whatever animosity you can muster.

 

oh and by the way

personally, as a rather knowledgeable and vastly experienced former member of the F&B industry, i would have to say i think most of your above assertations are a bunch of bullshit.

but whatever

 

 

OH
one other last thing

you can tell craig i said: "wait til i see that mutherfukker"

cuz he wrote me an e-mail recently telling me he sweats me. seriously

so if he is going around talking hypocritical shit about me behind my back

i will totally punch him in the fucking shoulder. HARD.

 

CAN SOMEBODY PASS THE FUCKING POPCORN OVER HERE NOW geezus christ

 

 

 

– Within minutes, eater.com declares Abbe Diaz is having a "meltdown."

 

 

– Fast forward several months to December, 2007. Sasha Muniak receives an e-mail from Jody Williams insisting he "rein in" his girlfriend or suffer the consequences.

 

 

– Abbe Diaz is livid. However, she concedes:

… i admit i am making an assumption. is there a possibility that comment COULD have been posted by someone else? of course. there’s always a possibility.

so here is my suggestion, and maybe this will appease everybody involved:

– SOMEONE posted that comment. all the speculations raised by the members here regarding that comment are primarily based on the IP address. well, if i was accused of posting a comment i did not write (that was supossedly written by one of my FANS), i can tell you i would be hell-bent on finding the person who is ruining my reputation by writing that awful snide comment.

– i would take the IP address. i would call the company to which the address is registered. if i happened to discover LO AND BEHOLD that IP address happens to come from the VERY SAME COMPANY in which i work (or used to work maybe? whatever) — ??

– i would find my "colleague," make him/her reveal his/her identity (or i would do it myself) and then i’d probably shake the shit out of that "fan" of mine. then i’d make that colleague publicly apologize to all involved for creating such a goddamned ruckus. i’d probably even call my good pals over at Eater and ask them to help spread the word farther and wider: "I AM INNOCENT."
(hells, i would even bet all the members here would apologize for all their speculations, if proven wrong. quite frankly, i would MAKE THEM APOLOGIZE.)

that’s what i would do.

i got the IP address if anybody wants it. just ask for it.

 

 

– To this day, neither Jody Williams nor Diana nor eater.com has made any attempt to acquire the aforementioned IP address, belonging to "Brook." Isn’t that funny?

We still have it, if anybody wants it. Feel free to e-mail us — or wait until the release of PX Me – The Sequel to PX This if you just wanna read about it — coming in the Spring of 2012!

 

 

 

– As predicted by the members of PX This months prior, in August of 2007, Jody Williams signs on as chef/partner of Gottino, (located within the several blocks between Gusto and Morandi).

 

– As predicted by the members of PX This months prior, in May of 2008, Chef Jody William is unceremoniously dismissed from Morandi.

 

– The LATEST: As "scooped" by PX This, in September of 2009, Jody Williams is sued by Gottino partner Michael Bull and is subsequently ousted from Gottino in May of 2010.

 

 

Grasshopper murder suspect "Brook" remains at large…

 

 

 

**See also (earlier): "[ Jody Willams ] @ Morandi"

 

*********************************************************************
pxthis.com archives

This is an abbreviated version of the PX This blog entry on July 14, 2007, for archival purposes only. A far more detailed, thorough, and incisive account is to be included in Diaz’s upcoming second book, PX Me – The Sequel to PX This) – Coming Soon in the Spring of 2012

 

"…The intellectual community, as usual, showed itself to be timid and divided, and even the most unexpected graphologists engaged in controversies regarding their inconsistent analyses of my handwriting. It was they who divided opinions, overheated the polemic, and made nostalgia popular…. Make no mistake: peaceful madmen are ahead of the future." – Gabriel García Márquez

 

 

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9 Responses to “The Grasshopper Chronicles”

  1. Trollai Llama Says:

    yeeeaaaaaaah baybeee!!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t think Jody and Diana are together anymore. I think Jody is with the owner of I Sodi now.

  3. MILFweed Says:

    The most ridiculous thing about it is that the grasshopper picture was sent anonymously. If you found an insect in a sandwich wrap, you would probably scream bloody hell at a manager and then call the Dept of Health or something. Not prop it up for a photo op and send it to Beater of all places.

    And you certainly wouldn’t need to send it anonymously, especially if you want people to take the situation seriously.

    They sell crickets at pet stores as food for lizards, frogs, snakes, etc. It’s very easy to get your hands on one even though crickets are rare in the city.

    The bad thing about cockroaches is that they’re everywhere but there’s never one around when you really need one.

  4. MILFweed Says:

    Hey Abbs how come Mangia doesn’t just sue Eater to get the email address of the person that sent the picture to them? It would not be hard to trace with a court order. Sending that picture in is a clear case of slander especially since you have the forum post and IP address to back it up.

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