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Food writer Nevin Martell wasn’t kidding about selling “Jeff Black Hates My Blog” T-shirts, following the restaurateur’s perceived jab at food bloggers during his RAMMY Award acceptance speech. Caps, sweaters, T-shirts, and even baby onesies containing the phrase are now for sale on Zazzle.com.
But Martell wants to get one thing straight: He has nothing against Black.
“I was never actually offended by Jeff Black’s comments, and I don’t think anyone else should have been either,” Martell says. “I have viewed this whole thing with a great amount of humor.”
Martell, whose dad owned a restaurant for 25 years, says he respects Black and understands his frustration with the anonymous online commenters the chef has since said he actually was targeting in his speech.
That said, Martell loves nothing more than a good joke. He says the T-shirts are meant as a nod to the D.C. food-blogging world’s first meme of 2012.
After Black sent an apology letter to the food-writing community yesterday, Martell texted Black to say that he respected and supported him—and to ask for his T-shirt size.
Black hasn’t responded, but his publicist, Heather Freeman, sent Martell a photo of the chef wearing an “I [Heart] Bloggers” T-shirt at last night’s Chef’s Best fundraiser for Food & Friends (see below). “I think he’s a large, but let me double-check,” she said.
Martell says he invested $100 in making the T-shirts through Zazzle. He called for design proposals on Twitter, and Dallas-based designerRebecca Nolen (a friend of a D.C. food blogger) took on the project. The design is a play on the logo of Black’s newest restaurant, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace. Martell says he considered putting an image of Black Jack‘s flying monkey mascot giving the finger on the back of the shirts, but decided it would take too much time and effort.
Martell isn’t sure he’ll sell enough Jeff Black gear to recoup his expenses. But if he does make a profit? “I will probably go out to dinner at one of Jeff Black’s restaurants and tip the server well.”
Full disclosure: Nevin Martell is a friend and a freelancer for this publication.