Nov 272012
 

In the old days in newspapers and magazines, if a restaurant chef or owner didn’t like my review, they called my boss. The editors never passed the phone call on to me.

But now that reviews are online, chefs can vent at reviewers directly, and that is not a good thing. Two bloggers who wrote less than glowing reviews of good restaurants were subject to vulgar and harassing comments that generated a lot of press.

The incidents brought up some good questions, however, about our expectations of reviewers, and I’ll get to that. First, let’s look at what happened:

1. Chef’s response: “…Wear a condom on your tongue to contain the orgasm of your ignorance.”

Dubai food writer and blogger Samantha Wood of FooDiva wrote a review of Giannino, an offshoot of a three-Michelin starred restaurant. She and a friend paid more than ‘a3200 (around $350) for a two-course Continue reading »

Feb 062012
 

Critic Jonathan Kauffman's huge brain let him store info about dining without taking any notes. (Photo courtesy smokedsalmon, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Ever had dinner with a restaurant reviewer? Usually I’ve been on the other side, so when I got the invitation I jumped at the chance to see a multiple-award winning writer and critic in action.

Jonathan Kauffman, restaurant reviewer for San Francisco Weekly, invited my husband and me to dinner at AQ, a sleek new restaurant serving what Trendologist Kara Neilsen calls “modern cuisine meets foraging.” Jonathan and I had exchanged tweets and emails, but had never met.

I began the evening with a faux pas. Jonathan had made a reservation in a false name, which I forgot and said his name when I introduced him to my spouse. We looked around to see if anyone noticed, but no one seemed to care. He also had a credit card in a false name.

Professional critics have to be careful about being recognized. Jonathan says he manages his online presence to ensure there are no photos of him online. (I checked and he’s right: you can’t find his face in an image search. Strangely, there are lots of photos of Continue reading »

Feb 242010
 

holdup12

Despite hand-wringing about the decline of print restaurant reviewing, few people seem to care. When I teach food writing, hardly anyone asks about becoming a critic now, and a post I wrote on how the net influences restaurant reviewing elicited no response.

Maybe it’s about the economy. Food bloggers cook, perhaps because it’s less expensive and more hands-on than eating out. Due to lack of funds, restaurant reviewers now fall into two camps:  the few remaining newspaper employees and freelancers reimbursed for meals; and hobbyists, who write on websites like Yelp.

So please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems no one wants to be a restaurant reviewer anymore. And certainly this news about Yelp doesn’t elevate the profession.

What news, you ask? It’s called Yelpmail. On this post from Chez Geek, a Continue reading »