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Chodorow Roars Back!

A breakdown of Jeffrey Chodorow’s long-awaited, just-posted first response to Frank Bruni’s recent reviews: • First line: not entirely coherent. “Fortunately, (or maybe unfortunately in the case of Robert's) I didn't have to follow Frank to either Momofuku Ssam Bar or Robert’s; I have already been to both of them.” We think he means he’s already been to both restaurants because he likes them. A generous (or ungenerous) opening.

Did Michael Pollan Throw the Whole Foods Debate? (Just Asking)

What exactly is up with Michael Pollan? We sat up late into the night waiting for him to put hard questions to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the discussion we previewed the other day. Part of Pollan’s bestselling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma was devoted to unmasking Whole Foods’ claims to sustainability and the like, but when the author finally sat down with Mackey, he was as cordial and giving as the publicity-obsessed CEO. Still, the discussion being two hours and all, there were inevitably highlights. (If you prefer to comb through it yourself, you may do that here.)

Michael Pollan Versus Whole Foods: The Smackdown

It’s a match made for the ECW: John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods, versus Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the best-selling critical overview of modern industrial foodways that reveals Whole Foods to be … just another big supermarket chain! In an open letter, Mackey has accused the writer of not doing his research, but this afternoon they will meet face-to-face and finally resolve the question of who’s handier with a folding chair. Actually, they’re just going to debate, after Mackey gives a presentation modestly called “The Past, Present, and Future of Food.” It’s happening at the University of California, Berkeley, at 10 p.m. our time; you can see it Webcast live here — or wait for our breathless take on the proceedings tomorrow.

The Controversy That’s Tearing the Restaurant World Apart

Chefs, especially the better ones, don’t usually pass judgment on one another publicly. So we were shocked recently when we heard one successful chef blasting another one for having handled a fish with tongs. "I wouldn't even stand in the same kitchen if I saw that!" he thundered. The first one was classically trained; the second, self-taught. It just went to show that if there’s anything that divides the world of chefs, it’s how they learned to cook — and how invested they are in the way that they came up. We staged a cage match between one of the city’s proud grads and a couple eminent autodidacts in order to find out who has it right.

We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately

The food world has been abuzz over Jeffrey Chodorow’s paid full-page rant in the New York Times. The restaurateur claimed that Frank Bruni wasn’t qualified to be a food critic and declared that from now on he intends to hold Bruni and Adam Platt accountable on his blog by reviewing the same restaurants. Not wanting to risk a pummeling by meeting him in person, we got Mr. Chodorow on the phone.

In Defense of Rachael Ray and the Food Network

Anthony Bourdain’s smackdown of the Food Network stars on Michael Ruhlman’s blog — in which the chef calls Sandra Lee “pure evil” and Paula Deen and drag queen Divine lookalikes, among other things — caused quite a stir the other day. Readers cheered Tony, and jumped on the Food Network with both feet. “But will the Food Network listen? Not likely,” Ruhlman lamented in a follow-up post. To him, the reason is obvious: Americans (other than his readers) are sheeple, shuffling Philistines who celebrate Rocco DiSpirito and Rocco Siffredi alike. “America is a mediocrity factory, and the Food Network is no different from any other business trafficking in cheap goods,” Ruhlman sighs. As opposed to trafficking in cheap shots — that’s Ruhlman’s specialty.

Earth to Chicago: You Lost ‘Iron Chef’ Fair and Square

Monday’s Iron Chef, in which Chicago chef Graham Elliot Bowles lost to Bobby Flay, has occasioned a gale of protest from the Windy City. For proud Chicagoans, it’s just not possible that Bowles could have lost; as A.J. Liebling put it, the prevailing local belief is, simply stated, that “everybody in the world is trying to put one over on Chicago.”

Real-Life Troy McClure Takes Beef Ethics to the Next Level

Since the death of Phil Hartman, no one besides Troy McClure has embodied the old-fashioned, stentorian-voiced announcer like A&E’s Bill Kurtis. (It was Kurtis who narrated Anchorman — click here for a sound clip.) But what you may not know about the American Justice host is that he owns a huge cattle ranch in Kansas and that his all-natural, pasture-raised, purebred Hereford beef, marketed under the name Tall Grass Beef, will be available soon in New York.