After a Chelsea chef who came out of nowhere named Michael Riemenschneider is revealed to be a “conman” in the ‘Mail on Sunday’, readers tell of his past form
As can only be expected of a paper that loves a bit of sensationalism this week’s Mail on Sunday’s ‘YOU’ got rather carried away in an interview with a “wealthy widow” named Flora Mascolo – a woman who claims to be a victim of, mind the magazine’s gushingly cringeworthy description, a “delicious romance soon turned sour” with a Michelin starred chef named Michael Riemenschneider.
Bizarrely, that Riemenschneider – a man whose first London restaurant, we noted in February 2014, was literally covered with images of his face and captions referencing his name – is lauded as a “handsome celebrity chef” in the feature by Margarette Driscoll is somewhat ambitious given several locals we contacted remember him as “podgy” and a “little bit greasy.” A well-known Chelsea restaurateur – where the Swiss born chef opened a replacement restaurant that few ever even got to hear of just months after opening and nigh on immediately closing his original Marylebone premises in summer 2014 – recalls an individual whose “ability to talk about himself and his achievements made me immediately question the truth of his claims.”
That Driscoll lauds this individual as “talented and dynamic” is perhaps fair given his “experimental cuisine” most definitely had many merits, but that she describes a man Mascolo herself calls a “coward of a man” and “somebody who was a lie, from the beginning” as “destined for similar success” to Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay is nothing but far fetched. Here was someone who opened in bizarre off-piste locations, insisted diners fitted into limited time spots and ridiculously thought he could limit customers to a set menu priced at £275 per head or a ‘cheaper’ one at £95 per head.
Riemenschneider, a man whose exploits are reported to have cost the widow of the co-founder of the Toni & Guy hairdressing empire some £2.27 million, is now supposedly bankrupt and living in Austria. Cars bought by him including a Mercedes-Benz GTS have reportedly been seized and of him Mascolo comments: “If you wrong me, you will remember my name. He didn’t know who he was messing with.”
A wealthy female reader of The Steeple Times contacted us to share her thoughts on the interview. She did not wish to be named but stated: “This strange, anything but handsome individual, pestered me on social media. He messaged me one day out of the blue in 2013 and he told me that we had friends in common. I am glad I did not fall for his attempts to lure me. Plainly, Mrs Mascolo did and I am sorry for her.”
“This man wasn’t a ‘celebrity chef’ but, in fact, a Facebook stalker of ladies he thought had a bit of cash. In his messages to me, I quickly realised he was an individual who’d come out of nowhere and brought with him an ego the size of Harrods.”
“The journalist [Margarette Driscoll] gets rather carried away about his restaurant. It was in a sub-basement off Sloane Square and it didn’t even have a website. Nobody went there because nobody even knew about it. Where there’s money, there’s muck.”
Michael Riemenschneider will no doubt reemerge someday. He was certainly a good cook, but sadly he turned out to be an even better conman.