Gillian Clark has long contended that she's the chef "everybody loves to hate," but last month the public outcry over her people skills rose to a whole new level when videos leaked of Clark mocking some of her customers. The General Store owner and partner Robin Smith reenact some of their more bizarre customer requests and complaints on the YouTube video that eventually and inevitably made their way into the hands of the press. After DCist posted the video (now unavailable), the commenters laid into Clark for biting the hand that feeds.
But today in the WaPo, Tim Carman has an interview with Clark and Smith about the chef's famously surly reputation. Clark attributes much of it to kitchen stress and says the videos a way to blow off steam - and they were supposed to remain inside jokes for friends and family. But at the end of the interview, Clark gets a little more personal with Carman when discussing kitchen perfectionism. Most chefs are as hard on themselves as they are on their staff, she says.
But Clark isn't willing to eat crow about everything. When Carman brings up the strict restaurant rules she lists on her menus, Clark deadpans, "I have the unmitigated gall to ask them to put their gum in a tissue. That's horrible. I'm Hitler's sister."