The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

• Talk about being a Debbie Downer: Associated Press reporter Nancy Benac predicts that despite President Obama’s recent forays into the DC dining scene—in the same week, he ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl and Equinox—we won’t be seeing him eating out so much in the next four years. She thinks that his well-known Friday-night dates with first lady Michelle will fizzle out. He’s been in the Oval Office for 11 days, so we still have 1,449 more to find out if Benac’s right. 

• When DCist chatted with Anthony Bourdain on January 19, the day his DC-themed episode of No Reservations aired on the Travel Channel, he set off what’s being referred to as Alice Watersgate: At the end of the interview, Bourdain said that the petite queen of locavore-ism “annoys the living s— out of me. . . . There’s something very Khmer Rouge about [her].” Yikes. Four days later, when Gothamist asked Bourdain for more comments, he took a step back, saying, “I don’t have any burning issue with Alice Waters” and “I intend to treat her with the respect she rightly deserves.” But then again: “She says some stupid s— sometimes.” Washingtonian food and wine editor Todd Kliman weighed in on NPR’s Web site in response to a conversation between Waters and ex-White House chef Walter Scheib, who butted heads with her during his tenure cooking at the White House. Kliman opines that the revolution Waters started more than 30 years ago “has calcified into something doctrinaire and even repressive.”

• And that wasn’t even all the flak Waters took over inauguration weekend. She organized a host of dinners, meant to feed about 25 people—with local food, of course—to raise money for DC Central Kitchen. But guest lists swelled to hundreds, and food bloggers and reporters were outraged that she flew chefs in from all over the country (not so environmentally friendly), and some of the food also arrived via airplane. Oh, no, she didn’t! But Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet, and Gael Greene, former New York food critic, sided with Waters.

• Perhaps in response to Alice Watersgate, President Obama decided to bring his former private chef, Sam Kass, to work with White House chef Cristeta Comerford. Kass is known for his healthy cooking and founded Inevitable Table, a private-chef service that claims it procures produce from local farms.

Washingtonian Food and wine writer Cynthia Hacinli will chat with Nycci and David Nellis this Sunday at 11 AM on their radio show, Dishing It Out (1500 AM). Hacinli will be talking about our 100 Very Best Restaurants list, available in our February issue.

• Until January 2007, Chef JohnPaul Damato oversaw all three locations of José Andrés’s Jaleo. Damato left to open Mio, only to leave there a month later to go back to Andrés’s restaurant group. A year ago, they broke up a second time, but then they got back together last summer—Damato is now heading the kitchen at the Bethesda Jaleo. Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman paid a visit there this week and couldn’t praise Damato’s cooking enough, calling some of the tapas “ethereal,” “meticulous,” and “feather-soft.”

• DCist reports that Citronelle recently laid off ten employees and will reduce the restaurant’s hours from seven days a week to Tuesday through Saturday. There have been lots of rumors that the acclaimed French restaurant from Michel Richard might close, but that’s not the case, at least for now. DCist was unsure when the changes would go into effect.