How chefs feel about food critics and food bloggers

This is a very touchy topic at the moment because there are a lot of food critics out there. In the past food critics and people who wrote for food magazines were mostly qualified individuals who were trained writers or communicators. Because of the growth of technology and the internet, these days everyone can be an expert in the field of being a food critic even with little knowledge of communication or food.

In the mid eighties and nineties food critics walked a thin line as they knew about food, did a lot of homework and were employed by the mainstream media, which were themselves operating under journalism best practices and codes of ethics. Those food critics usually had a degree in communication or food science, hence they knew how to communicate properly and knew about food, conducting extensive research so that they could be knowledgeable. Marco Pierre White mentioned in his book “The Devil in the Kitchen” that “It was only after Egon Ronay delivered a superb review of Harvey’s a couple of months after we opened that the restaurant became a massive success.”  Raymond Blanc said the same about Egon Ronay. So, we do need food critics and food bloggers and can benefit from their input. Before the article was printed Ronay called White to tell him and asked him some questions so he could give a response prior to publishing.  This is not done nowadays.

The fact I am trying to make here is that Ronay did his research and also gave an opportunity for the chef to reply first. Egon Ronay first worked in the business as a restaurant manager so he knew how passionate chefs are about their food. Anyone who has worked in the food industry – and I mean in a stand alone restaurant or hotel restaurant – knows that chefs are passionate about food and only respect those who also know about food (and what they are talking about). So when you criticize his/her work it needs to be balanced and not done like Fox News.

There are times when we as chefs feel that critics could not last one month in a kitchen! Yes they may know how to cook at home but can they cook in a pressured environment? Can they cook 30 steaks in 40 minutes at different temperatures while listening to the chef calling the orders and remembering each order and getting it correctly? The job of a chef is very demanding. We may take four hours to prep the ingredients before the restaurant opens and all that prep comes down to one meal that is gobbled up in roughly 90 minutes.  The critic can demoralize the chef and his staff in those 90 minutes.

We take our passion seriously. It’s like what Macro Pierre White wrote in his book “White Heat”…“ If I came to your house for dinner, criticized all your furniture and your wife’s haircut and said all your opinions were stupid, how would you feel?”

Food critics and bloggers alike don’t like it when people criticize their writing skills and when that happens, they feel attacked and offended. Please be aware of how the shoe fits on the other foot and try to be open-minded like the critics in the past.

So I say this to food critics and bloggers (and I am a blogger myself) – do you have what it takes to work 12 to 15 hours a day everyday on your feet in a room that is 35 to 50 degrees? Or let me put it this way – try to write your articles in a room with no air conditioning in the middle of the desert summer and see how difficult it is.

Please don’t get me wrong we need food critics and bloggers in the industry to help to promote our businesses. Egon Ronay’s guide (when he was with us) did not have any advertising from restaurants or companies that were in the industry. The ads that were in the guide were from companies that had nothing to do with the food industry.

Mario Batali mentions why he is wary of bloggers  in one of his articles on Eater:

I do not really HATE anything or anybody, it takes too much energy to hate, and I would rather dog someone/thing sotto voce to the large audience than spend a lot of time hating them/it. But blogs live by different rules. Many of the anonymous authors who vent on blogs rant their snarky vituperative from behind the smoky curtain of the web. This allows them a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seems to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. Unfortunately, this also allows untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact”.

In ending I say chefs are human beings also. We can be very hard but how would you like it if you went out on your anniversary night and the food was not good? It would ruin the entire night. That is why we take our jobs so seriously. So when you criticize a restaurant do so knowing that you may put certain amount of people out of a job. Paraphrasing Marco Pierre White- when we chefs go out to eat we are the ideal customers. We eat the meal and go home and don’t complain and 99.9% of the time we never make a fuss. The difference between the average customer and us is that our expectations are realistic.

NOTE: The moral of the story- blog responsibly.

Read more by Chef Lij in Marrying a Chef? What you need to know before saying “I Do.”


  1. Paulita says

    Brilliant Read haaaaaaaaaaaa love it may I humbly add if you want to be fab food critic if possible work in a restaurant & study how they work from top to bottom educate yourself & your palate to detect the subtle nuances of flavor & seasoning in food ,a food critics job is not fr the faint hearted

  2. says

    Excellent. I see too much trivilization and romanctisim of the industry too. While I started blogging I learned from working PT in fhe industry, i knew from the get go it was going to be hard and.demanding. Not everyone cam do this.

    • S. Megma says

      Interesting Coco, I have always felt bloggers are up there with DJs when it comes to self appointed roles with no pre-requisites of skill, knowledge or education. Curious to know if your blogging would be any better if your literacy skills improved a lot?

  3. eastofedencook says

    Each dining experience is unique, at home or at a restaurant. I like to say cooking is similar to performance art. You’re on stage and can only control so many variables. Things happen. There will always be those who seek limelight on the coattails of those who have done the hard work.

  4. says

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying, I also agree with what Mario Batali says. Bloggers have a responsibility – they are critiquing someone’s livelihood and their passion, and ultimately can influence the success or failure of a business (though most will never have this much power). Doing so annonymously or vindictively is wrong. HOWEVER, restaurants and chefs need to adjust to the times, as do many other industries. Social media and blogs offer an opportunity to open the dialogue. You can converse with your reviewers, gain feedback and influence interactions – if you choose to. Though I don’t think that it’s always necessary to do so because most people with half a brain read blogs with a pinch of salt, especially blogs that they don’t read all the time or have a huge affinity with. Anyway, that’s my two cents…not that you asked :-)

  5. says

    Fantastic piece, thank you for taking the time to write it. Snark and harsh criticism often do more harm than good. I think criticism should be constructive and delivered with a dose of honey rather than vinegar.

  6. says

    Blogging is so easy. We can write what we want, do what we want, etc etc. And we take ourselves so damn seriously! (all this said with slight sarcasm in my voice) I think power has gone to too many heads. Get a trillion visitors and all of a sudden we are a professional writer or photographer or recipe developer worthy of a cookbook. I think many bloggers forget or don’t understand that each of these are skills to learn, skills to hone and master. Like being a chef. So turning “critic” should be seen as a tad more serious than many take it. There are some excellent blogs who take reviewing restaurants seriously, do their homework and write well thought out, researched and balanced reviews. Once we write for a public, whether that public is large or small, we have a responsibilty to be honest and balanced and do more than be snarky or shock.

  7. says

    Wow! Sounds like you are a bit warm around the collar but I can understand where the feelings are coming from. As a blogger I try to be honest with what I write and do not claim to deliver any sermons from the mount. These are my opinions and thoughts expressed as best I can period. Some out there are feeling their “stats” entirely too much!
    By the way…could you pretty pretty please post a seafood (not just squid) ceviche recipe? I soooooooo want to learn how to make ceviche.

    • fred says

      Please send in your resume…. be prepare to work long hours (min 10hrs)….be prepared to be a pan washer before you know the recipe…(that you really want) and feel free to talk to customer who demand more

    • Rique says

      Hey…what about buying a book about ceviche? This is one of the biggest problems with blogging/bloggers…it is all for free. And you get what you pay for.

  8. says

    This piece was amazing!! I read it this morning on the train and then had to immediately tweet about it! I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you say about critics and anomynity. It’s coming to the age where although one could be anonymous, it’s not recommended any longer. Having worked in the hospitality industry for years, it provides an entirely different experience when going places where any sort of service is required.

    Additionally, I LOVE what you said about most bloggers (even though I am a blogger – lifestyle) not being able to handle the pressure in a kitchen or a restaurant for long, arduous shifts. Many would never hold up to that sort of a test. So to go into a restaurant and bowl over on the way the food has been prepared is something most people never thought about.

    I am a home cook. I am passionate about good food and being able to prepare meals at home. I would never want anyone to come in my home and tell me I had absolutely no skill – mostly because it’s not true and secondly because they don’t know the work that was put into making the dish. Because something may not be to a person’s liking doesn’t mean it’s not good. There’s a difference btw personal taste and something being of quality.

    Just wanted to thank you for this post. As I tweeted, this same thought process can be applied to all bloggers, critics and others – whether it’s food-based or not.

    (and I don’t always comment, but I am a personal fan of your blog)

  9. rd101 says

    As a restaurateur I welcome responsible bloggers but there are too many inexperienced diners in the mix who vent their frustrations and comments via local review sites such as the dreaded trip advisor, time out etc… Fueled by a bad day at the office too much wine and a lack of understanding and appreciation for a restaurants endeavors, guests rant online at the smallest things during the taxi journey home!
    If there are genuine points, problems or mistakes in a restaurant – ‘TELL THE STAFF’, at least give them an opportunity to rectify the problem before you pickup your smart phone and crucify them publicly. I have read online reviews from guests that bear little resemblance to the evening in question, fortunately some review sites allow you to comment against a blog but few allow reviews to be removed.
    The above is hopefully a seldom occurrence but it is the kind of thing a restaurant has to deal with, the general public (non foodies, non regular bloggers), who use reviews to make their decision on where to dine are not always able to decipher the accurate and responsible from the unknowledgeable and disgruntled.
    Reviews have more power than you think; their comments hit the mainstream for all to see. In the event of a mishap I ask that guests give us a chance to put things right, if we mess up again then by all means comment, but please be fair… people lose jobs over bad reviews and unfair blogs!

  10. Dima Sharif says

    Good one Lij,
    I agree with what you said, in fact I myself do not do reviews because of these facts. Because once you know what goes on backstage, you have more sympathy and understanding. However, I still think that constructive reviews, those not set out to kill a restaurant are very welcome, as they push restaurants, chefs and the industry to always be alert and give the best they can. Like a little bit of competition, it always drives the market to better standards. It is a different time, and just like advertisement changed the face of business, social networking is further changing everything. It will be a while until it all falls in the right place :)
    Thoroughly enjoyed :)

  11. Nel says

    I believe that all those who are involved in the hospitality industry should accept criticism – good or bad – when this is done in a professional way; nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement in any business. We know that chefs work hard, but this does not mean they should be exempted from any criticism from customers who are paying to have a perfect dining experience. Of course customers have the right to like or dislike the food and comment about it in an objective and constructive way.

    • cheffyb says

      Chefs actually love feedback (as long as it’s level headed and reasonable). We are here to make a good night out for our patrons, and if something goes awry giving us a chance to remedy it will do much more good for the chef, the restaurant and the customer than a snarky review

  12. soulwstyle says

    I definitely agree with this post. We must blog responsibly. We must remember that it isn’t just one post — it’s someone’s life and livelihood we are putting on the line. I always post by the rule “If you can’t post anything nice, don’t post anything.” It’s served me well.

  13. says

    A really good read. As a reviewer I actually avoid writing about places I haven’t enjoyed as I’m aware of the negative impact it can have on someone’s business. I completely understand how chefs can take this so personally. It is their passion and work.
    Marco’s point: ‘ If I came to your house for dinner, criticized all your furniture and your wife’s haircut and said all your opinions were stupid, how would you feel?”
    isn’t quite right as a restaurant is charging you money and you have a right to an opinion on whether it has been good value. Going to someone’s house is generosity, not the same.

  14. says

    Excellent article. What you have said is so accurate and bloggers should really blog about what they know and understand. Thanks for taking the time to share this and to represent the industry so well.

  15. Tyrone G. says

    Im a red seal chef’s apprentice, ive worked in some of the hottest restaurants in the city, worked catering events for elected officials, even in food trucks.

    Chefs really dont care about your f-ing food blog unless its hurting their bottom line.

    what i hear most chefs say is “shut the f up and eat the damn food”

  16. says

    People underestimate the power of words,
    As a blogger I make it my business to be authentic always but in saying this if I have an experience that is less then desirable rather then a negative post I refrain from writing anything about the place Completely.

  17. says

    I love food, I cook at home but I dont call myself a chef but when I don’t like a food I can criticize about it, it’s the individual who is receiving the feedback who needs to pick and choose what is best for him from the feedback. Of course annoying feedback without any take away is pretty lame but as chefs who work in a restaurant they should move with the times and start accepting the changes or get left out.

    • Dewsterling says

      Could you imagine someone complaining about your professional work and your place of business in a public venue simply because your work was not to their specific liking? Because one customer likes a server who checks back in every 10 minutes and one customer hates being bothered? Because one customer wants their courses to come one on top of the other and another customer prefers lag time between? That is what many bloggers do to restaurants. They come in angry and hungry, demanding to be satiated both emotionally and physically then take any single slight as an opportunity to lambast the professionalism of the business. PUBLICLY.

      Because there is a single ice cube fragment in their water glass, they send it back. However, they wait until the server brings their water back for a second time before asking for a lemon wedge. Now they’ve been served three times just to get water. Some people want their water glass perpetually full, some are annoyed every time their glass is touched by the staff. If they cannot tolerate water, exactly how are they going to enjoy their meal? These are not customers who want to be happy with their dining experience – instead they imagine themselves Dorothy Parker of the Vicious Circle at the Algonquin Hotel as they dream up inventive new insults for the staff and chef.

  18. says

    A friend posted this on a Facebook feed, and I am so glad that this post came out. We subscribe to this method where posts are done responsibly.
    At the very least, offer a more balanced view of everything. Pros and cons are great to point out, as chefs in themselves actually approach criticisms in a constructive manner (Well, at least the ones we have encountered).

    Thanks again and will be sharing this to other people in our group.

  19. says

    I admire your thoughts on this topic, as well as Mario Batali’s. (In my opinion, chefs are an under-appreciated lot.) Thank you for your passion to stellar cuisine! I’m a blogger, too, but my take on the world — food and otherwise — is positive. Just discovered this post via Mel Kettle (from The Cook’s Notebook) — better late than never. Thanks again!

  20. paul r says

    i am reminded by howard cossell’s book, i never played the game. why does someone need to be able to work on the line, prior to critiquing something that comes off the line? having eaten at numerous restaurants in my time on this planet, i know a good meal from a bad meal, and good service from bad service.

    bloggers get popular because people respect their opinion.

    blaming the media for a restaurant’s demise is rather old school, IMHO. with the multitude of outlets for a restaurant’s review, no one blogger really has that much power. it seems to me the real power is still with the major papers, as evidenced by here in LA, s irene vribilia and jonathan gold really rule the roost, and can do damage or good.

    in full disclosure, i love chefs and what they do. i cook at home, and consider myself a home cook. I have never cooked professionally nor do i have a desire. i do not write a blog, i never yelp, and i have maybe added 4 things to tripadvisor. i have no dog in this fight. i’m a fan of being responsible, but if you do not like something and want to write about it, why not?

  21. says

    Fluffy bullshit… Most working chefs wouldn’t scrape shit off their clogs with a blogger/writer. Celeb chefs temper their words to minimize bad PR… Working chefs hold bloggers/writers in contempt. I can’t remember the last time a blogger/writer wasn’t full of themselves or shit…

  22. says

    Great post. Mario Batali said it best. There are people who only want to criticize, even people like me, who are simply home cooks, and I think these people simply have terrible personalities. Especially if it’s not your job to critique, simply shut up if you have nothing nice to say or anything interesting to bring to the table.

  23. verukka says

    I can understand that a chef might feel chopped off at the knees when on the receiving end of bad criticism from an online source. There may be times, however, when the chef is not fully aware of the situation- if the blogger complains about a service issue or cold food, there may be a front of house problem. If the blogger complains about the food and is clearly not “getting” the concept, then by all means, dis count the blogger as an insipid moron. Anything else should be looked at as a tool for improvement, no matter how hurtful the delivery. It does not appear the internet is going away anytime soon, and as a feedback tool it is free and immediate research and advertising for a business owner.

  24. boohoo says

    I’m not sure if this chef is mad at bloggers and critics or just a bed wetting liberal who used the piece he wrote as a way to attack conservatives. Cry me a river…oh and make better food if you don’t like criticism.

  25. says

    “Blog,” when done right, is merely the media. A “blogger,” when done right, is just a writer on line. Some “blogs” have editors, published editorial standards, and expect the same level of professionalism as a print publication. Others are self-published ejaculations of uninformed personal opinion. Fortunately, the latter have followings of parents, former room mates, and like-minded fools, so chefs should distinguish between the two, treat the former with the respect they’re due, and ignore the latter.

  26. Eden says

    Two quotes from the late great Pauline Kael:
    “I regard criticism as an art, and if in this country and in this age it is practiced with honesty, it is no more remunerative than the work of an avant-garde film artist. My dear anonymous letter writers, if you think it is so easy to be a critic, so difficult to be a poet or a painter or film experimenter, may I suggest you try both? You may discover why there are so few critics, so many poets.”

    Also- “You don’t have to lay an egg to know if it tastes good.”

  27. Lindsay says

    I do not see how the critics experience in a kitchen is relevant in this case since people do not pay to eat his food.

    Most important, the critic represent the guest, not the chef. The guest do not necessarily know anything about food. He just pays a lot of money and expects a good meal.

    If the chef needs marketing he shall contact an agency and not rely on bloggers.

  28. says

    I agree with everything but the last sentence. Usually when cook or chef went out for dinner, most of us know (selective) in advance where to go, and what to order, or we just satisfy our needs with a glass of wine. The best professional advice to restaurant owners, or working cook / chef, may come from weary experienced and educated chef.

  29. Edouard B says

    I am a Chef, and I couldn’t argue: one needs to blog responsibly.

    Chefs never liked bad criticism.
    If you spend 60 hours a week in a professional kitchen, enduring pressure and heat, it is either cause you are a dummy and it’s the only thing you can do, or because you like making other people happy.
    Making people unhappy makes our job meaningless.

    This being said, I cannot think of one reason not to be honest when blogging or writing a review.
    As a customer, what you judge are not the persons who prepared your food and how hard they work, but the result. Sometime, the result doesn’t match your expectations.
    I think it’s alright to say it. In the restaurant. To your friends. And online.

    The Chefs egos let them think they should be judged by the few who know what it takes to be a chef. But on the other hand, all they want is success, and a full restaurant. Amongst the customers, a minority will know about food, and the vast majority won’t.
    They are more likely to follow advices and opinions from other unprofessional critics, than from critics who have a training, experience and knowledge which they don’t.

    Here and there, there are always a few bloggers who enjoy themselves criticising very famous restaurants, writing very detailed reviews, and no doubt it makes them feel much more important than they are. But overall, either the blog as a big audience, and you can bet the review still is going to be weighed and polite, just as in mainstream medias, either it hasn’t, and it won’t have any impact unless the Chef replies.

    Most of bloggers and reviewers are being honest with their experiences. I can understand it may be hard to hear for the most talented Chefs of the world that Mr Somebody didn’t like their food, but sometime it’s the case. The best restaurants of the world challenge themselves in a competition where you need to be innovative in terms of texture, find unseen food association, taking risks to be out of the standards. Some people will hate it. And they just can.

    For a customer to be really angry, it generally takes more than a small mistake. One rarely get offended if the steak comes medium instead of medium rare, or if the food takes 20 minutes to come. If a restaurant get a bad review, it is not only because the food didn’t match the expectation, but because the service wasn’t good enough at anticipating it, informing the customer, offering something in exchange, etc… Marketing studies are showing that a customers are more loyal if a restaurant makes a mistake and makes up for it than if nothing happens.

    Bad review means food not up the standard (at least for the price) and poor service in identifying the problem and sorting things out. It is something which shouldn’t happen often in a restaurant, and that’s basically how review websites work. The less often it will happen, the higher you will be on the list.

    Our job is to ensure that we will screw things up as less as we can, and review website is definitely a good indicator of performance.

    The fact that any customer can write a review, and therefore that it’s important to ensure that every single customer leaves the premises with a good experience is definitely an exciting challenge and an opportunity to improve the standards of our industry.

  30. Manny says

    The thing about critiquing is that you can’t do it factually for everyone, especially with food, arts, entertainment and some others. This is because not everyone has the same taste, so, what is good for you may be horrible to the next person.
    When you critique, you are stating your preferences, pleasures and, dislikes….
    When you read blogs and reviews I found you have to “learn” how to read them, you have to avoid the sentimental verbiage and get to the facts (if any) are written.
    Imagine if you were sent to review a musical and, you hated musicals? What would that review be like? On the other hand, some just take pleasure in making others miserable!

  31. L S says

    Hmmm. As a professional chef, upscale restaurant owner, unless it is mean spirited, I welcome the ‘everyday opinions’ of bloggers as well as professional reviews. I have fed the ‘pros’ often, but they make up a very small percentage of my business. The writer who has not worked in the industry has less of an interest in the passion and dedication of the chef, and more tuned into “did I love this experience I just paid big bucks for?” And that’s a damned valid opinion! It’s how I stay in business!

    I couldn’t disagree more with Marco Pierre White’s statement regarding what you would and wouldn’t say to a guest in someone’s home. Once I put a price next to an item, you are not in my home. I LOVE my industry, I have been lucky enough to have had a great deal of success. If I wanted to operate inside the bubble mentioned by MPW, I’d be giving fabulous dinner parties at my home and skip the the life of a professional chef. I, plain and simple, want to give paying guests an experience that makes them go home and dream about the goods, not the total $ on the check.

    Restaurants don’t exist to stroke the chef’s ego. They are a business. I suggest cooking for your mom if your ego is the motivation you access most. I am blessed by the universe to be able to make a living built around something I love to do, have a talent for, my ego gets fed plenty. But as for how I EARN that money, I believe it is my love for cooking being wrapped inside a great respect and dedication to my business.

    That being said, mean-spirited posts, ‘writers who write to hear themselves write’ are a drag. They also have little to no impact, in my experience. The Weekly World News of food writing. But the honest writer, blogger who has little or no restaurant work experience has a welcome opinion. I haven’t been in their position in a very long time. I know *way too much* to always keep my objectivity in check.
    I don’t know about you, but I rarely (never?) have written online about a ‘meh’ restaurant experience. Of which I’ve had many. In places where I know felt they were knocking it out of the park. Many chefs, myself included, benefit from a reality check now and then.
    Read it, bitch about it, then lick your wounds and examine if their is any info in there you can use. Then use it or dismiss it. I prefer a world with more feedback than less, I’m smart enough to know which can be kicked to the curb after a couple of internal (ok, maybe external) rants.

  32. says

    I own a restaurant in a I am in the business for at list 30 years all kinds small, large, hotels I AM a chef hands on , I had 365 reviews on yelp 4 stars. For many years the hardest part was to really to know that people opinion was it was very simple empty Restaurants and very busy places, now at list because real people and real reviews, owners and managers have a change to change things or to keep them the same so you tell me, who has more power in your bussnies a food critic that sometimes will never come or a real customers of a sincere opinion , we need to learn that people any one really can talk about food we BEEN EATING FOR EVER ITS NOT HARD so eat , learn, and keep written about food LOVE FOODIES and for the chefs learn the most important part of this job is to know how to get over fast of our mistakes and please learn and stop thinking the you are the best chef in world or your Hamburger there is great food every where and bad food now we know where to eat because there is information available thanks to real people and there are always right about it!!!!!!!

  33. says

    Excellent article! I’m a Chef and a blogger. Although I work now for private clients, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a professional kitchen and it’s the hardest work I ever did as a chef. I admire and respect the energy, creativity and passion it takes to work in a professional kitchen.
    I too have bristled when food bloggers and food critics, who by the way, many have never stepped foot in a culinary school or worked in a professional kitchen, feel warranted to express their personal opinions about a restaurant or chef without considering the consequences. Food critics will always be part of the business I agree, but there should be a moral obligation to be fair and balanced. We’re all human after all. No one is perfect.

  34. Localkelly says

    I love how almost everyone blames the internet or bloggers or Instagram or Facebook…except when it benefits them in some way. No mention of the good side? The free promotion for your place or cookbook or hot sauce or whatever else the celebrity chef flavour of the month is hawking? If bloggers hide behind a smoky curtain of secrecy, haven’t they also almost single-handedly (along with food television) blown up the careers of many mediocre yet marketable “chefs” to epic proportions? Remember that the next time your pasta sauce sells out at Whole Foods or buzz about your latest pop-up goes viral.

  35. Jenn says

    You state that people should blog responsibly, yet you criticize ONLY Fox news to be an imbalanced portrayal of information. How about MSNBC?
    What a hypocritical statement. Or maybe this was done out of pure ignorance. Either way you just politicized an otherwise unpoliticized topic.

    Maybe you should take your own advice before ranting at others. Your metaphor is equally applicable to an entire news network and reporters who are probably equally as passionate as these chefs that you write about. In doing so, you have lost all credibility.

  36. Brian says

    The final portion of the very first paragraph is ridiculous. Everyone is NOT an expert, however most of us have opinions. Are Chefs really this sensitive to criticism from people who are not and never will be a Chef? Does anybody know of a fine restaurant, lounge or bistro that has gone out of business due ‘purely’ to criticism that may not have been warranted? As always the consumer should be using ‘their’ good judgement when choosing where to spend their money.

  37. Gemma says

    I’m a food blogger and although I don’t talk about chefs or other talented restaurant (etc) staff I have to say I have actually worked in a kitchen, run my own bakery business and have lived in the desert of Israel for 2 years. So I have actually had to sit in front of my laptop writing my articles and have even had to cook and bake in 46 degrees heat with 98% humidity many times without air con. It’s not fun and more people need to take into consideration this type of work before putting their fingers into action.
    Great article and makes a great point :)

  38. MikenMolly says

    Gratuitous Fox News comment aside, I think we can all agree with your main point. But, you say things like, because we don’t work in a kitchen for 15 hours our opinion lacks weight is rather sad. I mean, to quote my best friend, do I need to, “Stick my nose up your butt to know it stinks up there?” An overcooked pork chop is overcooked, if it was done by a teacher or a professional chef who works 15 hours a day in a kitchen with Ramsey yelling from the balcony – it’s still overcooked!. Get over yourself! Most of us discount random reviews – they do have some weight because they have actually been there and we haven’t. Any respectable kitchen knows when the pros are coming in and cook to that, the schmo – not so much. BUT, if the food is spot on all of the time, the schmo has a great meal, too. So, what are they afraid of? The off night? We discount that. 25 off nights? Then maybe there is a real problem….

  39. says

    Yes, everyone should blog responsibly. Making gratuitously nasty remarks is foolish when those remarks will live on digitally, because they could just as easily come back to bite the author. And anonymous blogging should be taken for exactly what it is.

    But I don’t agree that you have to have spent time in a restaurant kitchen to be qualified to write about one as I believe this author implied. It’s perfectly reasonable for a blogger to write as a consumer and not an expert.

  40. says

    Coming from the realm of entertainment, we receive the same criticism from many bloggers who use the same defensive and veiled techniques in order to actually criticize our work with a sense of authority to which they do not own. I have many friends who are chefs and the art they create in the kitchen is no different than the art we must create on screen. It is an intense pressure cooker love affair to see the satisfaction of our customers at the end of consumption.
    More bloggers should stop onto the sets and into the kitchens, but most will not be able to handle the heat.
    Brilliant write up.

  41. Bel says

    Great article on being a responsible blogger. It would be great if you could extended the responsibility to remember to credit the photographer/or the source of the image used in this post.

  42. says

    Great article. I love the discussion it has evoked. I’m a blogger and professional freelance writer and have to admit that there are incidents in this field where writers (sometimes amateur, sometimes professional) embarrass me. Like anything, there is good and bad. I’m sure what some chefs present at times concerns you, too, professionally.
    My approach is not that of a critic and I focus on the positives, however, if something is really off, I’m going to mention it. Otherwise the work is not representative of the event and soon my reputation of honestly sharing the experience would be gone. I have huge respect for chefs and other artisans in the food and beverage industry including everyone along the chain – the farmers and foragers, distillers, brew masters, winemakers, mixologists, bakers, producers, serving and kitchen staff and so on. I’m out there trying to keep current and championing all the great people and things I see happening. I’m thrilled when I hear someone decided to check out a restaurant or event because of my article. Readers would soon stop doing that if I failed to mention some issues or did not provide a clear picture of what to expect.

  43. says

    I’m not a Chef, nor do I want to be. I love food, I love eating out and I love blogging about it so others can get a feel of my experience. I don’t feel that I need to stand in the kitchen in order to blog – I’m writing as the diner, not as the Chef! I do my research before posting something because I don’t want to sound like a fool if I wrote something incorrect. To say that I shouldn’t write something negative in case I ruin the restaurant’s reputation… not everyone will have the same experience even if they’re dining side by side, at the same time and spot. I don’t b*tch about petty things but if I feel that my concern is legitimate (esp if other diners express the same concerns) and the restaurant chooses to get mad at me instead of addressing it, why should I be nice to them? Yes, we’re all human, but if I’m paying to eat at an establishment then of course I want the experience to be pleasant, and when it’s not I will definitely share it. I’m sure most of us bloggers are not just out to bash restaurants!

  44. says

    If a bad meal on your anniversary ruined your entire night then perhaps you need to get some perspective.

    Also, being married to a chef & having no ability to be one myself I see the hard work they put in, the poor wages & long hours, so people who have never cooked will never totally understand.

    Eating out somewhere is always a risk, but that’s a risk you’ve taken like buying a dress you never wear. Nothing’s perfect.

  45. Owner, Operator says

    Ok, “Chef”, the guests didn’t taste what you did as you prepared the dish, but you didn’t taste what they did at the table. Ok. Have a conversation with them. Better yet, shut up and listen to them. You are in the hospitality business, be hospitable. Urban spoon, yelp, fb, and etc… are places that these diners will be, or at least feel, heard. I know how hard it is, believe me, to hear presumably unqualified critiques of your work. Food for thought – take your medicine, you will wake up feeling better.

  46. Paul says

    As a chef owner of a small fine dining restaurat, I don’t care what is written about my establishment as long as it is signed, and I am able to contact the writer.
    Accountability equates to honesty and forethought, and unfortunately there is not much of either of those to be found on sites like Tripadvisor.

  47. Jake says

    “So when one criticizes his/her work it needs to be balanced and not done like Fox News.”

    You’re quite a hypocrite for including this line in your story.

    Liberals: Always taking the condescending approach to increase their own self-righteousness.

    Well done !

  48. N Drinnan says

    A rebuke of writing and communication would be more effective coming from someone with a basic understanding of English, especially grammar.
    It’s pathetic.

  49. Marc Kinvig says

    You should have used ” ” for most of the last paragraph as it isn’t your work, I believe it’s taken from white heat… Nice read though

    Thanks CHEF

  50. says

    Great post! I agree that there’s a big difference between “real” food critics with extensive knowledge and bloggers, who just write from their personal preference. It must be highly frustrating for chefs, when bloggers without any other qualifications than a healthy appetite make postulations about food and cooking way beyond what their knowledge justifies. Some of us has really big blogs with far more readers than an average local newspaper and we should realize the responsibility that comes along.

  51. will says

    Thank you so much for this! As a chef in the midst of opening a new restaurant all of the comments are hitting close to home. we have recently been written up by a reviewer with no concept of the industry and it was amazing to see how much it affected business. thank you again sir.

  52. says

    As The Travelling Gourmet TM a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer/Editor these are my points…respectfully and inoffensively:
    1. Too many do called food writers and bloggers are vegetarians, cannot eat seafood, cannot cook for nuts and think the Chef has not cooked the pasta properly when it is served ‘al dente’…

    2. Too many Chefs want to be ‘Celebrity Chefs’ without putting in the years needed to learn the skills and attributes required. They try to do ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ to impress and make a name for themselves BUT as my humble and skilful friend, 3 Michelin Star Chef Georges Blanc told me recently, “Molecular is passe and is on the way out…” Also there are too many chemicals used in this cuisine which may be harmful…

    3. There are foul mouthed Chefs like Ramsay who give a bad name to Chefs, and clowns like Oliver who is unhygienic with pathetic knife skills who set bad examples for those who want to make their careers as Chefs.

    4. Lastly not enough attention is paid to sustainability in the products used…To much attention is given to so called organic products which at the end of the day have practically the same nutrients and benefits as non organic…

  53. Dr. Feelgood says

    I know this is slightly off topic but the statement: “do you have what it takes to work 12 to 15 hours a day everyday on your feet in a room that is 35 to 50 degrees?” puzzled me as the temperature level does not need to be nor should it be this high in any commercial kitchen. There are ventilation systems that will enable lower and more pleasant temperatures in the kitchen without a skyrocketing electrical bill. Proper capture of heat by efficient exhaust systems and well-designed make up air systems can enable an optimum solution with low energy consumption and better thermal conditions. Companies like HALTON have a vast experience in commercial kitchen ventilation and have supplied numerous kitchen ventilation systems all around the world that ensure more pleasant indoor environments.

  54. daver001 says

    I am constantly amazed at the lack of food knowledge of most bloggers – I believe there at most half a dozen in the UAE whose opinions are worth even listening to. Most, to me and to most of the chefs I talk to, are simply in the game for the free meals and, unfortunately, are being pandered to by PRs whose bosses have bought into the idea that social media is critical. That said, most restaurant reviews in print in this market are equally bad!


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