Friday, February 17, 2012

The Montauk Grifter: How to con your way into the kitchen

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Kaufman might have convinced this guy he was a professional chef.
  • Kaufman might have convinced this guy he was a professional chef.

On Wednesday, Gawker posted an article on the "Montauk Grifter," Dan Kaufman. This guy has pulled just about every trick in the book—embezzlement, theft, internet fraud, the whole gambit. But among the myriad of amusing schemes he's gotten away with (and there are many), perhaps the most bizarre is Kaufman's way-too-successful career as celebrity chef. Did I mention that the guy can't even cook?

Kaufman, who started going by Dan Kay after getting busted in 2008, claimed to be besties with Gordon Ramsay, and said that he was a producer on Hell's Kitchen and Chopped. And guess what? These outlandish claims might even be true. Kaufman also managed several restaurants and recently worked as executive chef at Elmo in New York, where he got away with never actually laying a hand on food.

One time, an increasingly suspicious woman Kaufman was dating (and conning) asked him to cook a meal for her. So how did it turn out?

The former Rainbow Room chef and two-time James Beard nominee served her an oven-baked porterhouse steaks that he hadn't bothered to sear and raw Brussels sprouts, thrown haphazardly on a plate.

So there you have it. It is officially possible to make a big name for yourself in the culinary world without even knowing how to prepare a steak.

UPDATE: Gawker put up a post a few minutes ago with an update on the Grifter story.

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