Oh what a mess has been wrought with the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant, owner Joseph Melluso, chef Amy DiBiase and the Union-Tribune’s, Keli Dailey. This is a sordid story about editors and a reporter looking to sensationalize a story with writing that gives all parties, most notably the readers, a bad taste and does not help the San Diego restaurant community.
For those of you who missed it, Buzz reported on November 5 that DiBiase (whom Buzz knows) had left Cosmopolitan. Next came Dailey’s one-sided story (relying only on owner Joseph Melluso) that appeared online on November 10, then the next day, in edited form, printed in the Business section of the paper. Melluso said (among other things) that there were financial and creative issues that caused the split. Missing in the story is any acknowledgement that he, as the owner, had anything to do with the problems.
As a seeming consequence of the many negative online comments about the U-T story, either Dailey or her editors must have thought it wise to connect and interview DiBiase, as the original Dailey “story” noted, “DiBiase could not be reached Wednesday evening for comment”. When Dailey did catch up to DiBiase the “rest of the story” – that is, her side of it — can be found online (and so far not in print).
Why run a half-reported story? And more important, it seems that lately the U-T has resorted to old-fashioned tabloid journalism to report on such restaurant matters. Restaurants open and close, chefs come and go, and any major newspaper notes such things in just a few paragraphs. But the U-T has recently evolved into gotcha journalism, with the snarky story about Roseville closing, then this mess.
Buzz checked to see if the paper ever ran anything when Jeff Thurston left the Cohn’s Prado where he had been for many, many years. Nothing. Why? By contrast, the recent change of chefs at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego merits a mention in Dailey’s online column (which is at should be, a few sentences at best).
So what gives? What purpose did Dailey’s story serve to the public, to the restaurant or to the chef or even to the owner? No purpose at all except to harm the business and reputations of those involved.