Friday, October 30, 2009

Relish Leaves A Bad Taste In My Mouth

Martin Wade of the Relish Group is apparently threatening to sue Jean Robert de Cavel to prevent him from opening a restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Buddhakhan. Wade claims that the chef signed some sort of non-compete agreement when the partnership dissolved. (Hat tip: Polly Campbell's blog, which I'm having difficulty linking to right now.)

Given Jean Robert's popularity in this area, this seems like a terrible PR move. Did Wade really think it was a good idea to make public that he would do everything he could to prevent a viable business from opening in a vacant space in the center of downtown? And does he really think people will support his effort to keep Jean Robert--who adopted this city as his own even after he and his wife had every reason to return to their native land--from continuing to be a culinary presence here?

What's more, non-compete agreements are notoriously difficult to enforce. The courts don't like them. Who wants to strip someone of his or her livelihood? I'm sure Jean Robert will have no difficulty finding able counsel to represent his interests should Wade decide to sue. I can think of plenty of attorneys with expertise in that field who would be willing--quite literally--to work for food. (As long as it's Jean Robert's.)

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