Sunday, January 2, 2011

Should Food Critics Remain Anonymous?

A LOS ANGELES TIMES food critic walked into a new LA restaurant and was recognized by the restaurant's staff.

Then, the owner of the eatery snapped a photo of the critic (at right), kicked her out the restaurant and then posted her picture on the Internet for all to see.

"Our purpose for posting this is so that all restaurants can have a picture of her and make a decision as to whether or not they would like to serve her," the owner posted with the photo. "We find that some her reviews can be unnecessarily cruel and irrational, and that they have caused hard-working people in this industry to lose their jobs -- we don't feel that they should be blind-sided by someone with no understanding of what it takes to run or work in a restaurant."

Traditionally, critics have remained anonymous so that they are not provided special treatment at the restaurant. Is the anonymous critic the only way to get a fair look at the restaurant in question?

Or, is anonymity outdated in the age of the Internet, where anyone can post their own criticisms to places like Yelp or facebook?


Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

Interesting. I actually laughed when I read that the woman was kicked out and her photo was sent to other restaurants. It was as if she was on America's Most Wanted. I understand what some critics are trying to do by remaining anonymous; if people know that there is someone special in the house, they would make sure they would do beyond an A+ job to ensure a good review. However, critics want to see restaurants how they normally are; their expectation is that these eateries strive to perform above A+ work, no matter who walks in.
If people want to include their own reviews on Yelp or Facebook, that is fine, but when major food critics are coming in, the outdating of anonymity really has nothing on them.

Sarah Mariano said...

I agree with Alexis. Everyone knows that if you open a restaurant that critics will stop in, announced or unannounced. And people are allowed to say and write what they want. Just grow a back bone, suck it up, and all will be well.

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