Over the weekend, the Post did a bit of digging around the news of Fabio Trabocchi’s unexpected departure from the Four Seasons, and while the restaurant isn’t the kind of establishment the Fork in the Road typically patronizes, Carla Spartos’ article does contribute to a wealth of evidence suggesting that rich people of a certain age like bland, stodgy food.
Although a Four Seasons “insider” told Spartos that Trabocchi was let go in part because of high food costs, it seems that his cooking was a wee bit too progressive for longtime Four Seasons patrons, who preferred grilled fish and steamed vegetables to, say, the chef’s spaghetti with sea urchins or ahi tuna with Kumamoto oysters and sorrel sauce. Their tastes, according to the source, run more towards “hospital food” than haute cuisine. Plus, the restaurant’s owners were scandalized by Trabocchi’s use of lard, an ingredient frowned upon by the skinless chicken breast crowd.
It’s no secret that the food served at most restaurants frequented by the disposably-incomed old guard is more suited to the cafeterias of white-collar correctional facilities. Michael’s, Cipriani, the Cafe Carlyle, the recently departed Cafe des Artistes and Tavern on the Green: they are or were all synonymous with big price tags and little in the way of taste. Still, it’s a bit sad that the city renowned for its culinary inventiveness may lose one of its most talented chefs thanks to the stodgy palates of entitled diners. While one can only begin to guess who will replace Trabocchi, chances are he or she will have more than a passing familiarity with a vegetable steamer.