The public execration of Top Chef winner Ilan Hall by supposed business partner J.E. Englebert, proprietor of Susie Wong, was branded into a press release.
Englebert, not noted for his verbal diplomacy – his public seething last witnessed when rapper Flavor Flav failed to make an appearance at one of his clubs – has vehemently accused Hall of abandoning their deal:
“I will rip his head off for screwing me!” Says Englebert. Englebert with several prominent business partners is opening Pase, an upscale, high-end Spanish-themed restaurant/lounge in the Meatpacking district NYC. “Hall and I exchanged numerous emails and traded phone calls. Explains Englebert, He agreed to be the executive chef at my new space for which he would get a weekly salary and percentage in the place in return for a nominal investment. I thought we had a done deal! – the food sections of New York magazine and Time Out New York even ran stories.”
The flagrant no-show on Hall’s part would instigate speculation that the business relationship had gone completely awry or, and what appears to be more appropriate, never existed.
This is also bearing in mind that Hall’s people where quick to extinguish any linkage between the Top Chef and the self-proclaimed “Nightlife Lord” when Grub Street ran a story tying the two back in July.
And again today, in the NY Post, Hall asserts his sovereignty, saying he had never cooked or spoke to Englebert and only casually chatted with him on MySpace.
“I actually never agreed to do anything together with him. I got one MySpace message from an associate of his and said I would help out and consult a little bit. There’s maybe a total of three e-mails and one phone call.”
Apparently Hall has decided on the opposite coast for his first restaurant, which comes by the name of The Gorbles. Hall says it will be “old Jewish food, date-raped by bacon.”
That must be more of a west coast thing.