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Nick Kokonas Fires Back After John Mariani Once Again Insults Grant Achatz

Former Esquire critic lambasts cancer survivor for being "skinny."

John Mariani
John Mariani
Robin Marchant/Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Note: This piece has been updated adding the Facebook note's introduction from Kokonas. Full, updated post follows:

Lover of fun, and all-around sweet guy John Mariani has made it clear he doesn't care for Chicago chef and cancer surivor Grant Achatz. The ex-Esquire critic has in the past questioned the Alinea and Next chef's integrity, but a Facebook post taken down Tuesday morning by Mariani has Achatz's business partner, Nick Kokonas, and his friends furious.

Mariani's shot comes while he's visiting Chicago, as the caption questions Achatz's prowess as a chef because of his slenderness. Mariani isn't the first to make the ingenious connection that a skinny chef doesn't know how to cook. However, as Achatz's business partner noted on his Facebook page, Achatz is a cancer survivor, and those treatments obviously can affect weight. This is Kokonas' full Facebook reply that appeared on his page:

Someone just sent this John Mariani post to me... and ordinarily I'd let this slide. It's well known what I think of him as a writer and industry professional and I'm in good company documenting his asshole nature... but finally we have a reflection of his true nature not by hearsay but from the man himself.

a) lots of skinny chefs out there who are quite good indeed. Thomas Keller is in great shape. He's pretty good, no? Ducasse, Boulud, Jean Georges -- just to name a few great French ones. How about Dan Barber... he's skinny and fairly well known right Mariani? I could go on all day.

b) this photo was taken about 1 year after chef Achatz, my friend and business partner, survived stage IVb tongue cancer. Guess going through chemo, radiation, and working 14 hour days in the process doesn't give you much time to sit around and fatten yourself up on the kind of food you like to eat, John.

Maybe I've dragged myself down to his level, but this time I don't much care. It's beyond the pale to post something like that and ignorant and insulting not only to chef Achatz but also to anyone who works hard in the kitchen but also strives to keep themselves healthy.

A line of Achatz supporters have called Mairani's post mean spirited and are ticked off. The feud between Mariani and Achatz has just taken another twist. Meanwhile, Mariani's gone silent — at least publicly — on social media.