A young man with a talent for cooking up food and tall tales managed to trick the Ahwatukee Foothills News into publishing fiction.
This journalistic embarrassment began over the spring, when Vinayak Gorur of Ahwatukee contacted the paper with a compelling community success story -- about himself.
He told reporter Krystin Wiggs and managing editor Brian Johnson how he was awarded a scholarship to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, won a big award from the American Culinary Federation and had been hired as the youngest sous chef at the posh Compass Restaurant on top of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.
The article ran in the May 13 print edition of the newspaper and also on the paper's Web site. Recently, one of Gorur's buddies called the paper to let the reporter know the 21-year-old chef was, how shall we put it -- totally full of shit.
The journalists retraced their steps, exposed the lies and published contrite mea culpas in yesterday's Foothills News.
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Says Wiggs in her apology column that Gorur had also bamboozled his own mother. He also apparently had someone phone Wiggs and pretend to be Gorur's supervisor at the restaurant.
Saying the Compass room's dim light would make it too tough to photograph him at work, Gorur convinced the journalists to watch him cook up a special dish at home.
Wiggs didn't attend the home-cooking session, but Johnson did. Not only did he take the pictures that ran with the story, but he crossed an ethical line by eating the meal Gorur cooked.
"Talk about swallowing the lie," he notes in his own column.