BIG MOUTHS

Restaurateurs swallow hard when these powerful patrons start jawing.

THE MOST FAMOUS CHEF IN THE world, backed by an army of pricey publicity flacks, heralded by press and public, opens a restaurant in the hungriest and most spotlight-seeking restaurant city in the world. How could it fail?
Witness Alain Ducasse’s in the Essex House, mortally wounded by New York’s gabby gourmands.
Nothing ensures the success-or failure-of a restaurant like the word on the street. Chefs agree that the most valuable restaurant guests are not the ones with the biggest wallets, but the ones with the biggest mouths. In Dallas, three ladies are loved (and feared) for their ability to make (and break) a restaurant.
“Miss Harriett,” as everyone calls Mrs. Arthur D. Rose, knows nearly every chef, maitre d’, waiter, and even food and beverage director in town. An experienced cook, a more experienced eater, and an inveterate expert socialite. Miss Harriett is generous with her undiluted opinion. Nancy Dedman, wife of ClubCorp founder and chairman Bob Dedman, and social mover Nancy Lemmon are known collectively to the Dallas food community as “the two Nancys.”’ Both rich, well-traveled, and blonde, they’re friends and lovers of good food and wine, which they support generously. Both helped found the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food and both have served the organization at the local and national level.
Between these three, they know most of moneyed Dallas, so the trickle-down from them can be devastating.
Chefs, listen up.

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