It's been a monumental year for the local dining scene, from the closing of the 137-year-old Locke-Ober to the patron smackdown heard round the internet, but no single figure has provide more entertainment than Todd English. English opened Olives here in Charlestown in 1989 and went on to full-blown celebrity chef status, opening restaurants around the country, creating his own line of cookware, writing multiple cookbooks, and making countless television appearances, some not just to sell his cookware and cookbooks. This past year, English had his hands full fending off multiple lawsuits, naming an oyster after himself, and shirking responsibilities incurred on reality TV. Here's a look back.
English's Faneuil Hall restaurant Kingfish Hall closes. Then, English is sued for a whopping $1 million due to unpaid rent and damages. But that's not all. A representative for the Faneuil Hall Merchants Association then says English "vandalized the city-owned historical property leaving it nearly unleasable." Now how many celebrity chefs can also claim vandal status?
As the founder of Priceline and the organization Charity Partners settles his affairs while facing a terminal illness, he asks English to repay a loan, saying "I'm guessing that (unlike Elvis or Michael Jackson) my future earning potential goes way down after my death." English only coughs up the $232,607 after a lawsuit by the man's estate. After he died.
[Photo: Fan Pop]
Hooray, after closing for two years following a grease fire, the original Olives has finally reopened and all will be well! Oh, wait - the landlord is suing English for $732,000 in unpaid rent.
Ok, it's still a little unclear what happened here, but a video showed English putting Pigalle chef Marc Orfaly in a headlock at Chinatown favorite Peach Farm. "He's crazy," says an onlooker. Not going to argue with that.
The Globe's Devra First stops by the reopened Olives for a review. English himself is present at this point, though "The food tonight is, to be generous, mediocre." And that is indeed the generous part.
Todd English looks to diversify his portfolio, and so he buys an oyster farm in Connecticut. And then names the oysters after himself, calling them Todd English Blue Points. Is this the world's first chef-branded animal? Hopefully it will be the last.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]
Not everyone in Charlestown was excited about the Olives reopening. Or rather, maybe someone's way of showing that they were excited was throwing a brick at it.
[Photo: Earth 911]
Todd English offers a cooking class experience with the man himself on Groupon for a mere $25,000. Before you judge, know that the offer includes a "double-thumbed oven mitt."
[Photo: Denver Post]
English exports Figs, born here in Boston, to the Middle East. Says the expansion via Twitter: "Experience the Boston life style here in Kuwait!" If Todd English's Kuwait lifestyle is anything like his Boston lifestyle, well, good luck Kuwait.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]
· All coverage of Todd English on Eater