Celebrity chef wins libel case over ‘insipid risotto’ — Analysis

An Italian celebrity chef was sued by a food critic for wilful conduct.

Carlo Cracco, an Italian celebrity chef sued for writing an egregious review about his delicious meals. Further insulting was when he was called “a…” “falling star.” 

Cracco won two cases against the editor of La Cronaca di Verona, Achille Ottaviani, who was fined €11,000 ($12,435) this week and ordered to pay €20,000 ($22,620) in preliminary damages and €3,500 ($3,960) in legal fees. On top of that, the chef said he was considering filing a separate civil lawsuit seeking €50,000 ($56,570) in damages. 

In 2016, Ottaviani published a critical review about Cracco’s meals at the gala dinner to mark the 50th anniversary Vinitaly, Verona’s annual wine festival. 

“Insipid risotto, tough meat, vegetables that don’t match, except in the folly of a non-existent culinary grandeur,”He added, “The critic wrote that.” “everyone eventually left disappointed, a little hungry and tempted to go to kebab shops nearby.” 

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Cracco, who had two Michelin stars for his restaurant and was also a Masterchef judge at the time of the article, filed a lawsuit against Ottaviani for libel. The bad review was said to have been detrimental to Ottaviani’s business. He was further offended by Ottaviani’s 2017 article, in which he compared the famous chef to a “falling star.” 

“I was there at the dinner. I don’t know if Mr. Ottaviani was present,” the chef said during the trial, as quoted by L’Arena. “I can’t say that [the meals] were impeccable because it would be presumptuous, but they were certainly the best we could do.” 

The Times quoted food journalist Dario De Marco as saying that since Ottaviani’s review was based on the responses of unnamed guests, it was neither an opinion nor a statement of fact, and was, therefore, not protected by Italian law.



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