Rebecca Masson isn’t the type of person to get mad. She gets even.
The chef-owner of Fluff Bake Bar (affectionately known as the Sugar Hooker for the tempting nature of her baked goods) has been leading a social media campaign to compel Eater Houston to remove her Midtown bakery from an article titled “Houston’s Saddest Restaurant Closures of 2017.” While the text of the article is correct — Fluff’s dining room has been closed since it was damaged by water from a broken pipe — Masson objects to seeing her restaurant included on a list that also included Oxheart, Holley’s, Bernadine’s, and Triniti.
“These are all places that have closed and will never come back,” Masson says. “In my mind, the storefront, you can’t come in, but you sort of can. We’ve been doing bake sales. We’ve done holiday pick ups. My business is operating the same as before we had tables and chairs. To me, we’ve never closed.”
Over a series of posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Masson has tried to persuade Amy McCarthy, the Dallas-based writer who serves as Eater Houston’s editor, to remove Fluff from the list. She’s drawn support from a wide variety of people including Chronicle food critic Alison Cook, acclaimed San Antonio chef Jason Dady, and the owners of New York’s popular Big Gay Ice Cream. She even nominated Eater Houston for President Trump's "Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards of the Year."
Mr. Trump, @EaterHouston is a dishonest news outlet damaging the reputation of a well meaning business that routinely works with charities. Including my business w other local business that have closed and mine is not. https://t.co/pwFbysV9jo— Fluff Bake Bar (@fluffbakebar) January 3, 2018
Instead of complying with Masson’s request, McCarthy edited her initial text to say Fluff Bake Bar accepts online orders (it doesn’t) and clarified that it will reopen soon. Asked about why she's so upset, Masson says she doesn’t understand why McCarthy never contacted her prior to publishing the article.
“At this point, somebody at Eater needs to take notice,” Masson says. “She’s not doing her job correctly. I find it so irresponsible. My email is on the website. The phone number to the shop is there. You’re friends with me on Facebook. You can private message me. I will respond to you, as I do any request from the press. She did not make any attempt to reach out to me.”
Rather than just stay angry about the situation, Masson is responding with a little humor and some sure-to-be-tasty food. Just as she turned a few negative Yelp reviews into a special “Baked With Hate” pop-up, Masson will host a special bake sale that she’s calling “The rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated by Eater” that will be held on Saturday from 10 am until noon at Izakaya, Fluff’s next door neighbor (318 Gray at Bagby).
In collaboration with Izakaya executive chef Jean Philippe Gaston, Masson has created a menu of dishes that includes five dishes: Ph’eux News Pho made with Izakaya’s housemade spam; Karma is a Biscuit (steak, eggs, and gravy on a biscuit); Come at the Kouign You Best Not Miss (yuzu-hibiscus kouign amann); There Will be Blood (sausage and potato hash with soft-scrambled eggs); and I Just Came Here for the Show (foie gras caramel popcorns doughnuts). She’s also selling t-shirts that read “Karma is a Biscuit.”
“I (thought) I should just treat this like those silly yelpers and make fun. Take this pain in the ass thing and turn it around,” Masson says. Screw it. As per usual, I’m taking something ridiculous and turning it into something ridiculously delicious.”
McCarthy has yet to respond to CultureMap’s request for comment about Masson’s plans, but she has tweeted obliquely about all the criticism she’s received.
there's really nothing like waking up to a variety of social media messages from people calling you an idiot!— Amy McCarthy (@aemccarthy) December 29, 2017
Maybe McCarthy will make the trip from Dallas for some Ph’eux News Pho and a t-shirt. After all, reasonable people may disagree with the writer's decision to include Fluff in her article, but everyone can agree that kouign amann are delicious.