Chefs turn the tables and review the nation’s top food critics

The Daily Meal
The critics have become the critiqued.

Dining news and trends website The Daily Meal introduced its first “critics’ scorecard” today, which lets top chefs turn the tables on prominent food writers. The methodology:

The Daily Meal polled dozens of the nation’s most notable chefs and restaurateurs and asked them to vote on America’s best known critics. Twenty critics were rated on a restaurant review scale of zero to four stars (four being a glowing review) based on four criteria: culinary knowledge, prose style, integrity (perceived), and likability.

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The L.A. Times’ Jonathan Gold came in first; The Orange County Register’s Brad. A. Johnson last.

The New York Times’ Pete Wells — the one who wrote the now-legendary 50-question slam of Guy Fieri’s restaurant — placed third (the poll was taken before his review published).

The reviews also give Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema bragging rights over his distant cousin Robert Sietsema, of the Village Voice. Tom finished fourth; Robert 11th.

Here were the overall results. The Daily Meal article also breaks it down by category.

Related: Pete Wells answers readers’ questions (New York Times) | Ruth Reichl, Jonathan Gold on the future of food writing

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  • Omar Rojer

    Yeah, but which chefs?

  • Joshua Ozersky

    Four things.

    1) I know I’ll always take my lumps for being pally with so many chefs and doing a big for-profit food event. But my prose should be rated much higher. Even my enemies would give me that. The literate ones, anyway.

    2) Letting an anonymous chef say I’m always looking to make a deal is basically libel. I imagine the chef means me offering a chef an honorarium to cook in Meatopia or a split in the revenue from a dinner or something, but it sounds like a praise-for-pay deal, which I don’t believe even my biggest haters have ever accused me of, and which would be devastating to any food writer’s reputation.

    3) Calling me the “Zelig of gastronomy” or whatever is ludicrous. I’m a pompous blowhard who always fits in everywhere with everybody? Ok. If anything I have made the opposite error, putting down vegetables, modernist cooking, and openly aligning myself with chefs who practice the kind of cooking I like.

    4) Lastly, any list that doesn’t show Adam Platt at its very top for integrity needs to be recalibrated. The man’s reputation is impeccable, his opinion incorruptible and he, like no other critic I know, totally sequesters himself from all chefs and always has. Platt is definitely the noblest roman of them all, and, like all of us, deserves better than to be demeaned by anonymous chefs, many of whom we have written about in less than the glowing terms they think they deserve.