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Is Anyone Else Aghast???

Having just read the Erin Murray article in the new Boston magazine, I am appalled. It quotes Ken Oringer, Michael Schlow and anonymous trashtalking O Ya's Tim Cushman. Basically Kenny said that Tim ripped off his ideas and Michael dissed his technique, saying it boiled down to a blow torch and truffle oil. They said Tim hadn't paid them their due homage. Ken sounded like a schoolchild. Barbara Lynch was much more humane. I say we send Kenny and Michael Edible Arrangements from Tim to show homage. Or maybe 1-800-Flowers.

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  1. Oh PULEEEZ.! Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If you want to be successful, copy an already thriving business. Food is food and my hat is off to the Cushmans for taking it to the next level and beyond by due diligence to create very outstanding chow.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsofatso

      Right? I had dinner at Aujourd'Hui 10 years ago and the server began to describe the night's special. It was a dish, verbatim, I had done for a wine dinner a couple of years earlier. I was so psyched I wanted to hug the chef.

      As far as I know, critics went to O Ya and liked it enough to sing its praises. Congrats!

    2. Chefs acting like pissy little backbiting prima donnas? Why, that NEVER happens!

      2 Replies
      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        >>Chefs acting like pissy little backbiting prima donnas?

        Well, duh.

        Do people think they are special individuals who have ethics? How funny.

        1. re: dolores

          "Do people think they are special individuals who have ethics? How funny."

          I know a lot of very ethical chef/owners. Like every business, there are always a few disingenuous characters.

          It sounds like you haven't read the Boston Magazine article, or followed the story very carefully.

          Tim Cushman, the chef/owner of o ya, who was called out by Ken Orniger, took copious notes at Uni, Ken's sashimi bar for 2 years!!! He asked the sushi chef about every ingredient, and called to have menus faxed to him 2 times a week. When Ken confronted him, Tim lied and said he was an out-of-work musician, and never mentioned that he was in the industry.

          Tim did the same thing at Oishi, the other high-end sushi restaurant in Boston, and when the owner, Ting confronted him, he said he was doing a job in NY that required coming up with menus and ideas for people opening up restaurants.

          His tactics went well beyond the usual 'scouting' that business owners (in any industry) engage in to see what the competition is up to.

      2. LOL....not aghast...Boston Ragazine, the clubbiest of media outlets in our fair city, is a mirror of its core constituency - the clubby Boston "in" set. That this interloper scoped them all violates club rules. No news here.

        I think the critical chefs have themselves to blame in part. I dunno...If I asked for the recipe, they'd tell me it's a secret, right? Maybe they thought he was just an aggressive chowhound. ;)

        Oh, well...necessity is the mother of invention - maybe it will cause Schlow and Oringer to get off the snide and continue to innovate.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          I've been aghast. I've also been a host.

          (A native Natickite just keeping up with the Boston scene...)

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            It's kind of hard not to laugh at this one.....for Gods' sake pick up a Michel Bras book and compare the food you see to that of the people throwing the proverbial rock from the glass balcony of their kitchens.

            Technique?? Ask anyone who helped open Radius and get them to tell you about the cornstarch sauces.....let's get real people.

            1. re: chef poncho

              Michel Bras is more Babs Lynch. KO rips off Ferran Adria. I remember about 11 years ago Kenny was peacocking around acting like he invented espuma.

              1. re: almansa

                Haven't been to No. 9 in while...

          2. Didn't all these people then also just rip off the idea from Japanese chefs, and probably some Spanish chefs for their tapas-like concepts, and likely the French chefs with their techniques, and so on and so forth...

            1. I thought the article was quite amusing. To my surprise, Barbara was the most reasonable of the bunch. KennyO and Ting-san saying they were "deceived"? Cmon ... you've got a guy coming to your place every week and taking copious notes and you don't wonder what's up?

              1. Is no one put off by the guy flat out lying to people?

                There's no real issue at all with taking notes, going to other places, checking out other food and so on. Any notion that one has to "pay homage" to chefs already working in town when opening a new restaurant is ludicrous as well.

                But, its another thing altogether to just lie to someone's face about what you're doing and then say "it was just my business sense." That's pretty lame.

                Oh, and criticism of his technique is fair, right? I mean, seriously, people can disagree about whether they like the technique.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ccbweb

                  "But, its another thing altogether to just lie to someone's face about what you're doing and then say "it was just my business sense." That's pretty lame."

                  Really lame.

                  Boston is a small town, and what goes around comes around.

                  Cushman lied and was disingenuous during his "research."

                  He called every week and asked to have new menus faxed to him, citing "research." Knowing what the competition is doing is one thing, but Tim did nothing to endear himself to his peers, in fact, he alienated himself. The cocky comment, "Call me next year," when asked what one should do seeking a reservation, will come back to haunt him.

                  Humility is a lot more attractive than arrogance.

                  1. re: FrankieSandals

                    couldn't agree with frankie and ccweb more....

                    and who relly cares how good his technique is or isn't, his deception is reason enough for me not to return. boston is a small dining community and it was foolish "business sense"

                    as for the "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery" comment, the only thing i have to say is that may be true but dishonesty is is nothing to admire..

                      1. re: wittlejosh

                        Here http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/mag...

                        "Any tips on scoring a table?

                        Not really. We're booked solid for a month and a half, and there's no walk-in seating. You can call and reserve a spot for next year if you want."

                        But look, misrepresenting your identity isn't unique to Tim Cushman, In fact, I'd bet there are more than a few industry people slamming their colleague right here on this thread, using aliases so Tim and other restaurant industry people won't know who they are.

                        1. re: Chris VR

                          Posting on an anonymous online message board.

                          Sitting with someone day after day, making detailed notes about all of the creative work that person is working so hard to make happen, having conversations about all of it and all the while lying about one's identity and purpose.

                          There's something of a, oh, fundamental difference there. Beyond that, at least some of the folks in the article in the OP put their name to their feelings and statements.