Scarpetta’s Scott Conant sends “an open letter to Toronto” just before opening his new restaurant at the Thompson Hotel
New York restaurateur Scott Conant has written an open letter to Toronto, which was published on the Huffington Post this morning. His main intention is to plug his much-anticipated Hogtown location of Scarpetta at the Thompson Hotel, but the text also manages to illustrate that his multitasking is as strong on the page as it is in the kitchen. The letter is a masterwork of contradiction, managing to condescend, schmooze and charm all at the same time.
Conant assumes that Torontonians know nothing about the culinary world outside of our city: “You don’t really know me—and that’s okay,” writes the frequent Chopped! judge, before going on to enlighten us about Scarpetta, a restaurant of international renown. “I don’t know if you’re into entomology or anything like that,” he goes on to write (though we’re guessing he meant “etymology”), noting what “scarpetta” means in Italian (a piece of bread used to sop up sauce). To top it all off, he recommends we get out more. “Miami is really beautiful, T-Dot. You should check it out sometime.” Um, thanks.
Strangely, the most relevant piece of information Conant could have provided—namely, what exactly will be on the menu at Scarpetta—is omitted (guess we’ll have to wait until the opening on Thursday), but he does turn on the charm. He heaps blush-worthy praise on the lusciousness of Ontario’s local foods: amazing charcuterie and meats, flavourful fruit, a vast selection of mushrooms, great seafood and top-notch wine. Oh, we’re really nice, too, and we “love food.”
I know, I know, I’m an outsider. It’s stressful enough opening up a restaurant around the corner from my apartment, and here I am in another country. Of course I’m worried, but at the end of the day, I simply try to make honest, delicious food. My other basic principle is to simply make the customer happy.
Oh, Scott. We can’t stay mad at you.