Chef gets into online food fight with customer over pumpkin pie

Eater Boston dishes on Pigalle owner Marc Orfaly's online response to a customer who found herself disgusted with the pumpkin pie he served up on Thanksgiving. It's not pretty.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Uncomfort food

Embarrassing behavior from both parties. Inexcusable but understandable from an amateur food blogger, just inexcusable from a professional chef and restaurant owner.

I had Pigalle on my list of places I want to try, but it just got pushed down to the bottom of that list.

Pigalle complaint was not from a food blogger

The original complaint on Pigalle's Facebook page was from a customer. A food blogger (at something called We Love Beantown) was the one who noticed the exchange and brought it to wider attention. For some reason, that blog post is no longer available (the sudden attention maybe used up its daily allotment of bandwidth?). Meanwhile, Pigalle has deleted its Facebook page in an apparent act of morning-after regret. But the Internet has a long memory: as you can see, Eater Boston got its own screen shots.

Wow

I'm not defending the customer's review, but Pigalle's response was unprofessional and, really, uncalled for.

General Manager == Social-Media Managers

At many (i'm extrapolating from my singular service industry experience) smaller restaurants, the general manager and floor managers are the social-media managers because of budget constraints. They manage the twitter feeds, facebook updates, yelp pages etc etc.

A social media manager would have prevented this PR disaster for Pigalle, but so could intelligence on the part of whoever was posting on FB for Pigalle. A simple "Sandy, we're very sorry your meal did not meet up to your expectations, please call xxx-xxx-xxxx and we can discuss how to resolve this issue." would have avoided all this. Pigalle blew it.

Not smart, but not shocking

Not smart, but not shocking really. I don't know this chef personally, but I spent many years in the trenches in some of Boston's trendier kitchens. His comments are right about at the level of most (the vast majority) of chefs I've worked with. I used to shake my head at all of the fawning press these chefs would get in the local magazines. A chef would be presented as this seasonal ingredient seeking, wine pairing, cultured sophisticate, when in reality they were boorish drunks who couldn't find France on a map. There are exceptions to the rule, but by and large the elevation of chefs to refined gentlemen was largely a product of the media wanting it to be so. It's still a rough trade and kitchens are particularly rough and rude places.

Not returning

I used to frequent the bar at Pigalle. Superb drinks and surprisingly cheap bar menu. Due to a move I haven't been back in a while, but attitude like this makes me not want go back at all.

Ooof.

Enjoyed a few dinners at Pigalle. Probably not going back.

Keep your boorish, ignorant, painfully low-brow rage to yourself, and no one would know you're a dick, eh?

Not that surprised...

I wrote Pigalle off years ago after having a disappointing meal there with my parents and husband. We thought we'd go have the steak frites prix fixe meal for fun, but it was very clear the entire time that our waiter was irritated with us for not spending more - mind you, it's not like we all shared one meal and drank only tap water. Nor are we a particularly uncouth group. Since I received the distinct impression that my business was not wanted, I haven't been back.

Another master of the sodium filled universe shows his stuff!

So this moron has a thin skin when it comes to his overpriced gruel,eh? Well, sir, I had the displeasure of eating at your establishment once and young Sandy was being kind in her remarks.

From the French onion soup for $17.00 that was cold to the $21.00 burger that tasted like a failed McDonald's experiment, it sucked out loud. My Dad's scallops were like rubber for forty bucks and I had to keep the rents from getting up and walking out half way through the meal. My Dad then uttered the words that have made meals cringe worthy since I was a kid;

"We'd been better off at Jeveli's, fer chrissakes"

The server was nice though.

Orfaly seems to be one of those egotistical "chefs" that looks in the mirror every morning and repeats the same mantra:

"Today I'm Mario Battali. Today I'm Todd English. Today I'm Lydia Shire".

No, Marc. You're an asshole. A BIG asshole. I can't wait for your descent into obscurity. I can't wait until you end up as the house chef at some hotel in Vegas. Off strip.

Usually I would be on the

Usually I would be on the wagon with every one and would claim I would never, ever go to this restaurant ever again. But something about a poster saying that a dish you serve tasted like "vomit" would send me into orbit too. So yeah he shouldn't have mentioned her "fat face," but when you say something that extreme, you have to expect some kind of reaction. I am giving Chef a pass on this.

Did you say anything at the time?

A meal this bad sounds worthy of voicing your complaint at the time, in person, or at the very least a letter/email to management after the fact. Too often, it seems like people will have a bad experience and instead of giving the venue an opportunity to make it right, they just complain to anyone who will listen and bash them on the web after they walk out the door.

In many cases, I think negative comments (especially on social media) can be an opportunity to show that you actually care about your customers.

No, I didn't

I'm in the service industry so I often give a pass to places I have a bad meal at, as it can just be chalked up to a bad night. So I was content on having the bad meal, keeping my mouth shut and not going again.

However, once you see the owner calling a woman a bitch because she dared to criticize his assholiness and his establishment I felt that relating my experience was warranted.

Thanks

Thank you. I couldn't have said it better. It truly is a shame the way he responded. Maybe he'll learn a lesson and become a turn around story. I wish no evil on anyone. I appreciate your support though

comments on that link

Sandy (or someone pretending to be her) posted to that thread saying everyone had made nice, he offered her a make-up meal, and the two of them are now Facebook friends.

I ate at pig alley once years

I ate at pig alley once years ago. I thought the food sucked, and the service was shitty, so I never went back. I think given the fact that the waitress laughed at the customer when she expressed dissatisfaction with the crappy food, the customer was justified in taking her complaints to the web. I think more people should do it.