Lasagnagate: Josh Ozersky Responds to Sietsema’s Letter


A few hours after Our Man Sietsema posted an open letter to Josh Ozersky regarding Ozersky’s recent column about the celebrity chefs who catered his wedding, Ozersky has responded with an appendage to his original column.

The original column can be viewed here, as can Ozersky’s response.

Ozersky had earlier in the day dismissed Sietsema’s concerns about whether he had paid for the chefs’ food and services (something he failed to disclose in his column), telling Diner’s Journal that “Bob makes it sound like a sinister plot to extort lasagna.” But his official response makes it clear that Ozersky’s doing some damage control:

Robert Sietsema’s open letter to me in the Village Voice today makes me look unethical rather than dumb, and thus requires some clarification on my part. Some of my closest friends are chefs, and when they asked me what I wanted for a wedding present, instead of a crystal decanter that I would never look at, I told them to just cook some lasagna or bake a few loaves of bread that I could share with other friends. I thought, and still think, that wedding food is almost always awful, and that having the responsibility spread out among a few chefs, each doing a specialty in pans ready for preheating, was the way to go. That said, it was dumb of me not to be more explicit about the fact that I did not pay for any of their delicious contributions, and I was wrong not to make this clear to my editor beforehand. I am not an anonymous critic and I don’t review restaurants for TIME (or anyone else). I comment and enlarge on trends on gastronomy, which I stay aware of by being close to chefs. I love my chef friends, and wanted to share their food with my other friends. Michael White’s daughter was a flower girl in the wedding; Jeffrey Chodorow said one of the seven blessings under the chupah. It was a mistake, but I was hardly trying to trade column space for goods, as Sietsema is pretending to suppose.

We’re not sure about this “pretending” business, but clarity is always a welcome development.