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A Chef At A Popular New Outlet Has BANNED A Well-Known Food Critic And The Claws Are Out

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A spat between a well-known food blogger and reviewer, and a high-profile Dubai chef has escalated, following the chef’s decision to ban the blogger from his outlets.

Chef Izu Ani, responsible for Carine, La Serre, Le Petite Maison and Gaia in DIFC has announced he was banning Samantha Wood, founder and editor of Foodiva, from his outlets.

It comes after a review was hosted on foodiva.com that was less than stellar, of Ani’s new venture GAIA.

Chef Anu with HH Sheikh Hamdan

Anu made a statement to Caterer Middle East that he felt the review was a reaction to his refusal to partake in a commercial opportunity on Foodiva.com

Calling the review ‘personal’.

However Woods has firmly denied this accusation, releasing a statement reiterating her editorial policy – and that the review was done by a guest writer, not Woods herself.

She elaborated that she is a fan of chef Anu, and it was not personal, it was fair and balanced – including positive and negative points regarding the experience.

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It pains me to publish this review of @gaia_dxb from guest contributor @finediningmatt because 1️⃣ I am proud of my Greek-Cypriot blood, and 2️⃣ I (and my guest reviewers) are fans of @chefizu’s concepts. Anyway, impartiality is what I thrive on, and honest feedback is essential for this industry to mature. I had best let you read it (link in profile). ???? “The issue with new Dubai restaurant GAIA is reflected in the name; the use of upper case letters echoes the focus on the glamorous aspects of opening a restaurant that unfortunately leads to finer details going amiss. GAIA in DIFC is under the helm of Dubai-based chef hero Izu Ani and his long-standing Greek chef de cuisine Oresti Kotefas with the backing of Bulldozer Group. The press release promises, ‘a modern taverna that serves authentic Greek cuisine with a contemporary approach. With a harmonious approach to flavours, carefully prepared plates are served in layers, so that each dish complements the previous to create a gastronomical experience.’ Big words to match big letters.” ???? What matters to you when dining in high-end restaurants; the grand gestures or the finer detail? ???? PR image @gaia_dxb????#foodivareviews

A post shared by Award-winning food critic ????????✈️ (@foodiva) on

Anu told Caterer that he had outright chosen to ban Woods from his outlet

Stating that the blogger would not be welcome at GAIA, telling Caterer Middle East: “The people that matter, they love it. And the people that don’t matter, like her… I’ve banned her from setting foot anywhere near here.”

Foodiva was founded by Samantha Woods and publishes anonymous, paid-for reviews of food outlets

A rare character in the landscape of food bloggers in Dubai, Woods only reviews places anonymously – paying for the experience. She also told Caterer Middle East that she chose not to review GAIA herself as she felt she would likely be recognised.

You can read the Foodiva review here.

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