Keith McNally Takes a Groundless Swipe at Bruni

I have profound respect for Keith McNally's abilities as a restaurateur, but his open letter to Eater and the New York Times alleging that Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni is sexist is simply way off base.

McNally notes that Bruni has never given a female chef three stars and is therefore sexist, and furthermore that this alleged sexism is the reason Bruni gave McNally's latest restaurant, Morandi, and its chef, Jody Williams, a bad review.

On a zillion levels this is preposterous.

First, anyone who has ever dined with Bruni (I have had a couple of meals with him in the company of women) would tell you he adores women.

Second, can anyone point to a female chef in New York who has been reviewed by Bruni and given short shrift by him as a result of their gender? Sexism is still a fact of life in restaurant kitchens all over the country. I have written about this topic often while noting that other cities, such as San Francisco and New Orleans, seem more hospitable to women chef-restaurateurs. This doesn't mean, however, that McNally is barking up the right tree.

Third, it is clear that this is a thinly veiled broadside aimed at Bruni and the Times because Bruni had the audacity to give Morandi and Williams, a one-star review. I actually liked Morandi more than Bruni did. But Bruni's negative review had everything to do with the food and service there and nothing to do with sexism. And it seems irresponsible and disingenuous for McNally to suggest otherwise.