Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm here to help: Part 2

As previously discussed in last week's blog entry called "I'm here to help", not everyone is a fan of my Dish column in the National Post. I'm specifically referring to an Ottawa-area herd of elk. 
Here's the column, printed in April of last year, that almost got me sued. 

restaurants are finding partners in local farmers

Amy Rosen, National Post

"This is the first time in 20 years there's been any interest in 'local,'" says Andy Terauds, co-owner of Acorn Creek Farm. "So we finally fit in."
Terauds's farm is a 75-acre fruit-and-veg spread near Carp, Ont., and he's attending Ottawa's second annual Farmer-Chef Meet and Greet, which is basically a speed-dating event for local producers and chefs. Dreamed up by Savour Ottawa -- a joint initiative of the City of Ottawa, a non-profit organization called Just Food, Ottawa Tourism and Ontario Tourism -- the event is heating up at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. From the looks of things, a lot of people are eager to promote local culinary products.
Landing a date is not always easy, but the Ottawa chefs making the rounds today seem to have no problem hooking up with area farmers, as they ramp up for the 2008 growing season.
There are intimate whispers of micro-greens and sweet promises of heirloom tomatoes. 
Last year, Terauds's farm hooked up with Juniper restaurant, for which they provide some 55 varieties of lettuce. But they're still playing the field. So, too, Sandra Salmins of Wild Parrot Delectables, who's selling her greenhouse-grown "shoulder season" greens to several high-end Byward Market restaurants, including Domus, Eighteen and Luxe.
As for Elk Ranch -- which, last year, forged an ongoing love match with the Chateau Laurier -- well, let's just say every town needs its slut.

And then I printed a nice recipe for elk stuffed peppers.

Long story short, the Elk Ranch did not find the reference funny. In fact, they threatened a lawsuit unless I personally wrote a big feature about them. (At least they liked my writing.) Even now, I'm not sure what they were so upset about. (Who doesn't learn from her mistakes?) Did they really think I was calling their elks sluts? Can elks even be sluts?
As my editor expected, I refused to write a feature story about their farm, and my editor was also smart enough to write the apology for me, knowing I would likely make matters worse. It was printed a couple of weeks later at the bottom of my column. Here's what it said:

An apology: My column earlier this month about Ottawa's Farmer-Chef Meet and Greet contained an ill-considered joke about the popularity of Elk Ranch with local restaurants. I described the event as a date, and in noting Elk Ranch's success with the city's chefs, I took the metaphor too far. The intent wasn't to disparage or offend, and I apologize unreservedly to Elk Ranch for any offense taken.

As you can imagine, that Dish column got the most-ever hits.


Anonymous said...

That made me cringe. It reminded me of an apology I had to make years ago when I was working at a Toronto tv station. Will tell you about it over a drink sometime. :)


Amy said...

Would love to hear all about it. Will I see you in Vancouver at the bottom of March?