The Man Who Helped Bring You Orange County Choppers Blames Everyone Else for the Death of Fine Dining


Several months after Christopher Lee departed from Aureole, he’s taken to the Internet to endear himself to, well, everyone.

In an interview with Food Republic, Lee spoke at great length about everything — and we do mean everything — that is wrong with fine dining today. Or would be, if only fine dining were still alive. But it’s not, because we killed it.

“We” in this case is a word that contains multitudes. Young chefs, for example, have killed fine dining with their “false intensions,” and desire to be on TV instead of in the kitchen. And “the voice of the people” carries its share of the blame, thanks to its overwhelming “negativity” and the inability of people to go out to eat “for the joy.”

Which, of course, leads us to blogs, which tend to be written by people who don’t “understand the responsibility of their words.” Which people are we talking about? Eater, which Lee calls “one of the worst things in the world.” More specifically, the “worst, worst imaginable culinary site in the world.”

We’re still a little confused here. “Eater is the demise of our industry.” Are you sure? “That thing should be shut down and nobody should bother. It’s disgusting.” Eater’s “outside bullshit,” like its annual best-looking chef award/dubious honor, particularly rankles Lee, who says, “We’re service. We serve people. That’s what we do.”

Something else Lee has done: partnered with the TLC reality show American Choppers to open Orange County Choppers, a “restaurant, bar, microbrewery, gaming, hospitality, retail and entertainment experience.” On his blog, Lee characterized his consulting role on a string of reality-TV-show-based restaurants as “one of my most exciting partnerships to date.” OK, so fine dining may be dead. But it’s wrong to say the people are incapable of finding “joy.” Because we’re currently finding an awful lot of it in irony.