“If it’s good enough for the Secret Service and the DEA…”
Havana hookers rob U.S. chef bare
The program under which chefs traveled to Havana drew fire from a critic of trips to Cuba.
So who was the New York chef, or assistant chef, who went to Cuba for a bit of food diplomacy and wound up being robbed by the two hookers he took back to his hotel room?
It seems like nobody is willing to tell, although reports on the misadventure have been making the rounds of foodie blogs and websites and drawing jokes, insider jabs between chefs and at least one serious reproach of the trip to Havana.
Ten prominent New York chefs flew to Cuba earlier this month for the 11th annual Habana Bienal modern art show, to put on a piece of performance art with 10 Cuban counterparts — cooking in a kitchen built into a cargo container.
But New York chef Sara Jenkins on Wednesday cast a different light on the visit when she tweeted, “So one of the American chefs in Cuba took two whores home with him and then got robbed of all his money #butofcourse #icantsaywho!”
The restaurant, bar and nightlife blog Easter National swiftly published the tweet and began speculating on exactly which chef had been robbed, because some on the list of 10 never made it to Cuba and were replaced by others. Some also took assistants to Havana.
Among the names mentioned were the chefs of famed New York restaurants like Hearth, Terroir, Sueños and Sunday Night Dinner and Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia, Eater National reported.
Colicchio, a long-time judge on the reality TV show Top Chef, was not on any of the lists and his tweet was clearly a “not me” joke.
After the brouhaha erupted, Jenkins, the chef at Porchetta in New York, sent a tweet apologizing “to all the chefs and colleagues who helped put together this amazing cultural exchange for indiscreetly calling out the behavior of one member.”
“What was meant to be some collegial ribbing in fact has instead reflected poorly on all the chefs who donated their time and energy to this project,” she added. “And while I don’t condone the individual’s behavior, I do regret airing it publicly on Twitter. Social media lesson learned.”
One reader’s comment posted on the Easter National site said, “If it’s good enough for the Secret Service and the DEA…” referring to the recent scandal involving the agencies and prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.
The kitchen performance, named “Project Paladar” after Cuba’s family-owned restaurants, was part of a program designed to use food, cooking and eating to improve relations between the people of Cuba and the United States.
Elizabeth M. Grady, an adjunct professor of art history at the State University of New York, managed the project for smARTpower, described on its web site as a U.S. State Department-funded initiative to use visual arts to bring people together.
Bring together, alright.
Look, the average Cuban is allotted rations that are worse than a slave’s; it’s an insult to have the chefs serve up gourmet meals while regular Cubans struggle to serve themselves any meal at all.
And now we have one more instance of sex tourism in the island-prison.
In other Cuba news, Mariela Castro continues her lobbying stunt by endorsing Obama and not allowing any questions from the audience or the media present.
Here’s something she didn’t talk about: Routine repression in Cuba,