Filed under: Local Food Commentary, restaurant reviews | Tags: chefs, Critics, food, qualifications, trust
Dear (Tens Of) Readers,
Sometimes in life our ears act as catcher’s mitts to fastball rants and curve ball truth-smearings, but once in a while our cartilaganeous (yes, I just made that up) sound-capture-holes bear witness to such a simple yet precise change-up which effectively closes out the game. Such a query befell the ear-atuses of a local food critic this past weekend during a seemingly routine visit to one of the DMZ’s newest and most innovative dining concepts. A person at this food venture struck up a conversation with this local Food Critic went (according to the account which squeaked by my ear lobes and landed in my brain lobes) a little something like this:
Person: “Oh, so you are a food critic.”
Critic: “yes, I am.”
Person: “Are you a chef?”
Person: “Well, then how do you know how to write about food?”
Wow. The “Person” just blew my mind. All of this debate about what qualifies as good food criticism and whether food critics should even be considered legitimate (especially due to the recent bias and favorite playing of a 13 year vet…or is it 14 now) has just taken a turn toward home. (please excuse the baseball references, I am just trying to wash away the single digit temperatures by thinking of spring) Would you rather take your dining cues from someone who knows the food from a kitchen and service standpoint, or would you like to continue tuning in to the eating advice reception from a handful of “Professional Diners” around the state/country who seem to yearn more for whatever they are reviewing to conform to some ideal they formulated in another country/restaurant/bar? To some wildly mild aesthetic that comforts the person writing the review? What about real facts, real discussions of food and technique, objective, unbiased reviews of service and value without regard to the reviewer’s personal prejudice toward the reviewed cuisine, concept, restaurateur, chef, or light fixtures?
You, my tens of readers, have been duped on many occasion by restaurant reviewers around the world. These business or journalism school grads don’t really know food like the women and men who have chosen a path to culinary glory, but they know how to write words. There have to be a few out there who transcend this problem, who crosses the line drawn in the sand between the food professional and the food critic.
“Are you a chef? Then how do you know how to write about food?”
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