Chow Re: One Pot in the New York Times
posted by November 7 at 11:43 AMon
In a piece about One Pot that appeared in the Stranger back in May, Charles wrote…
In March 2006, Michael’s empire vanished, and is now nothing more than a very bright memory. His marriage also went under. (Clarklewis, however, is still operated by Naomi.) The city of Portland has been on fire with gossip and rumors: How could this happen? Who was responsible? Some point at Michael, others at Naomi. But all of that is not important. Things come and go; nothing in the world is stable. Whatever the case, Michael Hebberoy—an indefatigable spirit, a dreamer, an idealist, a Platonist who wants to revolutionize public and private dining—has found the way out of Portland and made Seattle the point from which he will launch future projects.
The Michael Hebberoy portrayed in the New York Times sounds less like a dreamer and an idealist and more like an asshole and a fraud, and places the collapse of his PDX restaurant empire squarely on his shoulders.
Then one April day last year, he disappeared, leaving behind a wife, a ruined restaurant empire, a welter of debt and an angry herd of creditors and business partners.
“What’s most despicable is that Michael just left,” said Tommy Habetz, the chef and a partner at Mr. Hebberoy’s Gotham Building Tavern in Portland, which closed after the crackup. “It was so immature. I had put my heart and soul into the restaurant, and to have my partner leave without a warning or a conversation about how we could fix things — it was pretty heartbreaking.”
The end came on April 27, 2006. Mr. Hebberoy, who three months earlier had been the subject of an eight-page article in Food & Wine magazine that called him a “food provocateur,” told equity investors he could no longer make payroll for a company that had grown to 95 employees. Ripe had been hemorrhaging money, something he hadn’t told the staff, financiers and suppliers.
The New York Times reports that Hebberoy, to his credit, sold property he owned and paid off most of his creditors. Still, dreamer or no dreamer, however brilliant One Pot is or is not, questions about how Hebberoy’s Portland restaurant empire “happened” to fall apart and who exactly was to blame are legit and we should’ve asked them.