Carlo Cracco

Celebrity chef successfully sues newspaper for criticising his risotto

Culture News

Revenge – a dish best served cold! Italian celebrity chef Carlo Cracco successfully sues a newspaper for criticising his risotto. The former judge on Italian Masterchef was unhappy with a scathing review.

Carlo Cracco, 56, served a tomato risotto with braised wagyu beef at 2016 gala dinner. Achille Ottaviani wrote a scathing review, criticising his risotto and saying guests left unsatisfied and went for a kebab.

Masterchef judge Cracco sued for defamation for a total of €34,500. The chef, whose restaurant had two Michelin stars, served up a risotto with tomato, lemon, cumin and braised wagyu beef at the gala

The event was the 50th anniversary of the city’s annual wine festival Vinitaly. 400 guests were present, including the editor of La Cronaca di Verona, Achille Ottaviani.

The ‘review’

Ottaviani wrote many diners left disappointed and headed to nearby kebab shops, the focus of Cracco’s legal complaint, The Times reported.

The editor said, “Insipid risotto, tough meat, vegetables that don’t match, except in the folly of a non-existent culinary grandeur. Better the San Carlo crisps that Cracco promotes on TV.”

Cracco said the scathing review affected his business. He is also considering a separate civil case for a further €50,000.

Food journalist Dario De Marco said: “If he had written, ‘I was disappointed, crisps would have been better, I went and got a kebab as soon as I came out,’ that would have been criticism, protected as a personal opinion.”

However, since the review included the responses of the unnamed guests, it was neither an opinion nor a statement of facts. Therefore, it was not protected by Italian law.

Cracco has won two libel suits and a court has ordered Ottaviani to pay fines of €11,000, preliminary damages of €20,000 and costs of €3,500 for the defamation.

It is the second time Cracco has successfully sued Ottaviani for defamation. He previously won €1,000 for another negative review.

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