After a late-night shift of braising veal cheeks or flambéing bananas, many chefs go home and log onto that familiar blue-and-white Facebook screen. They, too, have Scrabulous moves to play, friends to poke, and tagged photos to peruse, probably on a stalkerish level like the rest of us.
Jackie Greenbaum, co-owner of Jackie’s in Silver Spring, loves the social-networking site’s movie quizzes. She got a perfect score on the “celebs without their makeup” quiz and uses the “movie compatability” questionnaire to match her film tastes with friends’. She shares a score of 57 with Washington City Paper food columnist Tim Carman. According to their answers, they’re only “casual buddies.” Good thing it’s their dining compatibility that really matters.Carman isn’t the only food writer in the city with an active profile. Besides some Washingtonian writers over here, the Washington Post’s Food section is also represented. How giddy we were to see food critic emeritus Phyllis Richman. The Brandeis alum of ’61 recently added a “fun wall” application and has a whopping entourage of cronies (such as Post food writer Jane Black and new publisher Katharine Weymouth) Despite our disappointment at Richman’s question-mark icon in lieu of a headshot, we’ll assume she’s still preserving her anonymity. By many standards, the question mark is a Facebook faux pas, but can we really stay mad at Richman for very long? Nope.
Pastry chef Heather Chittum of Georgetown’s Hook turned our hopes around with her real photo. Unlike the pic in our previous Kitchen Favorites chat with her, there’s no white chef’s coat—instead she’s sporting a strapless night-on-the-town top. Most of her wall correspondence includes friends commenting on Hook-related news. “I came into the restaurant a couple weeks ago, but you weren’t in!” or “What is the recipe for your incredible crème fraîche ice cream? Please!!!” Demonstrating her involvement in the Washington culinary scene, Chittum is a club member of DC Foodies, a Facebook group devoted to local food events and news.
While some foodies are throwing themselves into the Facebook landscape, others only seem mildly amused by it. KN Vinod of Indique in DC’s Cleveland Park has only nine friends. While nibbling on lamb korma and banana-leaf-wrapped fish, his diners may want to listen more closely to the kitchen next time. Vinod could very well be blasting “old Hindi songs, Simon and Garfunkel, Beatles, and Engelbert Humperdinck,” his professed music faves on his profile.
Nathan Anda of EatBar in Arlington’s Clarendon is another casual user, with only ten friends. We’ll assume he’s too busy toying with his swine-themed menu at work. He’s Facebook buds with fellow chef Brendan Cox of DC’s Circle Bistro, who is quite the family man in his shot. Sitting on white sand, he huddles lovingly with wife Leslie and their three little ones. Cox is also pals with restaurant publicist Wendy Gordon, whose company, Flash Communications, is responsible for Bastille, Firefly, Hudson, Poste, the Grille at Morrison House, and the Palm. Though Gordon’s firm doesn’t work directly with Circle Bistro, Facebook is just that nexus of worlds, bringing together writers and chefs, colleagues and competitors. Next time you’re satisfied with a solid Washington meal—or a review for that matter—go ahead and poke your favorite restaurant personality. Odds are he or she won’t mind.