As the blog Eater summarized, French Marie Claire’s Group Managing Director Jean-Paul Lubot emailed Vivant chef Pierre Jancou asking for a “comped meal for himself and a plus-one,” but Jancou rejected the request calling it “questionable.” The two exchanged emails about the issue, which are posted on blog Food Intelligence (in French).
According to a Google Translate of the posting, Carine Darmon contacted Jancou asking for Lubot, who would be “accompanied,” to have dinner at the restaurant before the magazine would feature it in its January issue. Jancou responded that he never has done so and the request “seems suspicious and fraudulent.” In response to that, Lubot defended his request, said the magazine wouldn’t feature Jancou’s restaurant, and commented that Jancou could have said no “without being insulting.” Jancou then called Lubot not a food journalist and Lubot again defended his request, adding that he is the “editor and CEO of the Marie Claire group.”
Lubot added that “Others have understood that it was an opportunity to put forward their establishment in a major museum” and criticized Jancou as showing “stinginess.” Lubot also wrote “You’re wasting my time.”
Ultimately, Marie Claire apologized, calling it a “personal error,” blog Paris by Mouth reported. Le Figaro added that Marie Claire said that (according to a Google translate) “the group’s employees must not use their position to obtain personal benefits from others.”
Le Figaro noted that “the general rule is that a food critic always pays his bill.”
iMediaEthics has written to French Marie Claire’s Gisele Voisine asking about the magazine’s policy on exchanging coverage for free items, about the magazine’s apology over this incident, and for confirmation of Food Intelligence’s email exchange publication. We’ll update with any response.
iMediaEthics wrote in 2010 when City Pages’ freelance wine writer John Glas asked restaurants for “free food and wine for evaluation” so he could make a “top 5 list.”