Valenti's Coda (UPDATED x2)

Late Monday, the Buffalo News clumsily excised any mention of Iron Chef from Okun’s review of Valenti’s.  The bit about the parsnips is still there, alone and unexplained.

The reason given?

I can only imagine the “two sources” were Mr. and Mrs. Valenti. It’s just a red sauce joint. Hell, the food might even be good. Why be a clown and make up crazy stuff that can be easily disproven?

UPDATE: Via comment to the original post, Jeff Levine, the spokesman for the Culinary Institute of America writes:

You can add to the above list the fact that The Culinary Institute of America has no record of this person graduating from, or even attending, the college.
Jeff Levine
The Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, NY

UPDATE 2: The Buffalo News has scrubbed any mention of parsnips, as if nothing ever happened. That’s great editing! BTW, I did call and speak with Mr. Levine on the phone to verify that he was, in fact, who he says he is, and that he was authorized to provide the above-quoted information on the CIA’s behalf.


  • I will never eat at Valenti’s because, according to Bedenko’s Web sources, the proprietor claims to have served in the Marines but never actually deigned to enlist.

    I do not patronize small businessmen who steal valor. There are too many restaurants out there owned by authentic veterans who serve great food and appreciate my business.

  • Whenever I hear of a new restaurant, I wonder HOW ARE THE BOOTHS??? Thank god Janice Okun always fills me in. It would be nice if she could mention more then a few words about the food but you can’t have it all.

  • What is WITH all the pretension on this site?! This is WNY, folks! DUBYA. ENN. WHY. All we need to know about rest ronts is how many starz, how bigga shovel to bring, and how many of our fat asses can fit side-by-side at the trough.

  • I’ve said this before: you’re not the audience for Janice Okun’s reviews. She writes for the “typical Buffalonian” – an older, generally lower-middle class to middle class, ethnic crowd that isn’t very adventurous, put off by a setting that might appear upscale or polished, and which cares more about quantity than quality. She’s always leaned towards “ye olde coloniale house”, red sauce, and blue collar-style establishments. She’s a product of the old Buffalo, in the local restaurant scene since the 1950s or 1960s, and her reviews reflect that.

  • Yeah, defintely not writing reviews for snotty leftist hipsters who live in the affluent burbs.

  • I don’t think Janice Okun is a good reviewer, but I never got very excited about the petition to have the News replace her. Her reviews provide a service for what’s likely the majority of local diners, people who care more about portions and prices than where a place fits in the global culinary scene.

    But this is different. As some kind of journalist, she can’t simply be a stenographer for whatever interested party is standing in front of her. To not take a minute — literally — to check on that laughable Top Chef claim was just unprofessional.

  • where did terry or i ever say he served in the Marines ! i do believe that was the deb farley statement!
    i never stated anything about the iron chef show i did state a master chef and we have a fire kitchen does anyone make note of that or do you know the differance !!so before anyone states what i said or did not say did you hear it from me
    ‘ No You did not and as far as Janice Okun she did a good fair review and my statement to her on the iron chef was you will have to talk to him on that as i was not with him in 2003 when he attended the iron chef !!!

    • The Channel 7 TV piece also indicated that Terry appeared on Iron Chef. Janice Okun also wrote that he appeared on Iron Chef, against Bobby Flay. You were quoted as saying “it was the parsnips that did it.” Iron Chef America with Bobby Flay did not exist in 2003.

      Of course Okun did a fair review, all you need is comfortable booths and big portions.

  • hope your all happy the resturant will be closed

  • Why do people defend Janice Okun? Buff State and St. Bonaventure should use Okun’s articles (especially the article in reference) to show Journalism students what never to do. What’s so difficult about a comprehensive review of a restaurant? To say that she is providing a review for “Old Buffalo” is ridiculous. The Buffalo News is widely read though out WNY, why does the editorial staff feel that it’s readers deserve such drivel?

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