Blogger critical of Philly restaurateurs is identified

Posted: September 27, 2011

An anonymous blogger who rocked Philadelphia's normally serene restaurant community with allegations, against some of its most prominent names, of racism, sexual harassment, and violence unmasked himself Tuesday on his blog, StaPHmeal.

Joshua Albert, 25, worked briefly at a number of city restaurants, and, according to online court records, has been convicted of public drunkenness in Philadelphia and credit-card theft in North Carolina.

He said he revealed his name because Jonathan Cohen, the attorney for Georges Perrier and another chef (both of whom are disparaged on the blog), had figured out his identity.

Cohen filed a writ of summons Friday, requesting that the Internet service provider release the name behind the blog.

Perrier, via e-mail, said: "Who in my position would accept being falsely and publicly accused of horrible things, much less, by an anonymous, immature, and attention-starved person who's built little more than a mobile Internet connection?

"In the heat of a kitchen, and in the whirling activity of a full house, there are inevitably normal tensions, and not because of mean spirits on anyone's part, but because we are all trying to deliver the best we can," Perrier said.

The famed Le Bec-Fin chef is one of the more prominent of about a dozen people called out on the site. Most of them, when contacted, refused to comment.

The blogger, Albert, in an interview Tuesday, identified himself as "an orphan" who has moved at least 50 times. He said he had worked as a waiter for a few days or weeks at several restaurants, including Amis and a.kitchen. It was not clear whether he was currently working.

Asked why he had started the blog, he said: "I want to stand up for people who work in the restaurant industry and be a voice for people."

While some readers cheered his posts, many more expressed their disgust.

Perrier's attorney said he planned to "look at Mr. Albert's background and competency to stand trial, as well as the possible involvement of co-conspirators."

Cohen discussed filing legal action for defamation.

"I'm not going to stop, even if someone sues," Albert said. "I don't have a lot of money. Let them sue the [expletive] out of me."

Twitter had temporarily suspended his account, but it was back up after a few days. On Tuesday, StaPHmeal had almost 450 Twitter followers.

Albert acknowledged an Internet posting offering his services as an escort, complete with a photo of him, but denied creating the post. "I'm trying to figure out how that was posted," he said.

He said his North Carolina arrest was "a long story" and his public drunkenness arrest was for "shooting the police officer the bird."


Contact staff writer Ashley Primis at 215-854-2244, aprimis@phillynews.com, or @ashleyprimis on Twitter.

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