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Alex Stupak just can’t get a break from bloggers. A month after getting into a heated — and public — scuffle with a student critic who had written a withering review of Empellón, the chef is now contending with Steve Plotnicki, the party responsible for the aptly named Opinionated About Dining.
Yesterday, Plotnicki wrote a post about his recent experience at Empellón, the Mexican restaurant Stupak opened after leaving his post as wd~50’s pastry chef. After wondering “what on earth happened to Alex Stupak,” Plotnicki described the chef’s career switch as “the equivalent of Picasso deciding he was going to paint by numbers instead of creating major works.” He then recounted going into Stupak’s kitchen to tell him just that. Surprisingly enough, Stupak wasn’t particularly receptive to Plotnicki’s opinion, or his subsequent attempt to friend him on Facebook. “He has yet to confirm me as a friend,” wrote Plotnicki with apparent surprise, and then went on to wonder why Stupak “couldn’t … make delicious tortillas along with exploding tacos?”
So Stupak once again took to the blogosphere to respond to the criticism, posting a long statement on Eater earlier this afternoon. The majority of it concerned his decision to quit pastry in favor of tacos: The point, he wrote, “is to be solid and straight forward and serve food that’s worthy of craving rather than pondering.” And exploding tacos don’t really seem to be on his agenda: “I don’t want to change Mexican cuisine. I want it to change me.”
In addressing Plotnicki, Stupak took a page out of the Marc Forgione playbook: “And by the way to come into my kitchen as if you own it and have no regard for the fact that both I and my wife and my brother in law have probably collectively slept 8 hours in 3 days is insulting to me. And further, to begin to tell me how I’m taking a step back when you have no clue what it takes to do what I just did is also equally insulting.”
He also took issue with Plotnick’s grammar and spelling, as despite all of the blogger’s worldly dining experience, he apparently doesn’t know how to spell “fundido.”
Regardless of where one stands on Stupak’s food, it seems fair to say that entering a restaurant kitchen to insult a chef to his or her face and then sending him or her a Facebook friend request is unbelievably stupid a tad misguided. Perhaps Plotnicki should have peed on the place settings instead: It would have made the same point, with about the same degree of finesse.