Thursday, July 26, 2007

Maybe There Is Such a Thing as Bad Publicity

I received a surprising e-mail yesterday. Jennifer Malone-Seixas, the sommelier at Fleur De Sel in the Flatiron district, whom I had profiled in the New York Sun July 18, wrote to tell me that five days after the article appeared, she was dismissed by the restaurant. She said there was no clear explanation. (I feel it's all right to reveal this, since she stated that her comments were on the record, even though I offered to keep them off the record.)

This struck me as strange. Past sommeliers I've profiled have received nothing but positive feedback from my "In the Cellar" columns. Making Fleur De Sel's action all the more peculiar is that Jennifer's picture was featured in Wine Spectator the very same Wednesday. Publicity for your wine program is good, no? Or isn't it?

One can't help but wonder if professional jealousy played a part. After all, the Sun chose to place the article on Page One—something they'd done only twice before with the column. And the pieces featured not one but two pictures of Jennifer.

These events are particularly ironic since part of the thrust of the article was the paucity of female sommeliers in the wine world. Now there's one less.

7 comments:

Darcy O'Neil said...

I've gotten a lot of heat from a manager for asking if a newspaper photographer could take a picture of me behind the bar. Eventually I was asked to leave. In this case it was a very small man who needed to be top of the feeding chain. Anything that he perceived to undermine his position was looked on negatively.

Getting "let go" is usually for the best since working for those "types" shortens your life span.

Robert Simonson said...

Thanks for the input Darcy. As I understand it, Jennifer is glad she was let go from such a place, as they plainly didn't appreciate her. On another subject, I enjoyed your appearance at the bloggers panel at "Tales of the Cocktail." I hope to catch you behind a bar one of these days, and experience one of your liquid creations. If you're in New York ever, drop me a line.

terry said...

it's nuts. restaurant gets priceless publicity, then gets rid of person getting it priceless publicity? who on earth would make that kind of decision and get away with it?

Darcy O'Neil said...

Thanks Robert, I'm glad you enjoyed the session. When I'm in New York I'll let you know.

Darcy

ken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sad to see this. We need more women sommeliers, not less. IMO, they tend to be educators rather than intimidators. LA Perkel at Michael's NY is an amazing wine director and sommelier... who just happens to be a woman. She knows her stuff but doesn't hit you over the head with it.

Robert Simonson said...

I am in agreement with you Anonymous.