The Village Voice's Robert Sietsema pens an in depth piece for the Columbia Journalism Review about the history of restaurant reviewing in New York. An excellent cultural piece, it charts the waters from Craig Claiborne's seminal reviews for the Times in the 60's to the food bloggers and the free for all of today. He touches upon Gael Greene, who first brought hyperbolic language to the medium ("After Gael Greene, the restaurant review would never be the same"); Reichl, who turned the review into a "bona fide literary form;" vernacular food lovers Calvin Trillin and Jane and Michael Stern; the first well known and not anonymous food critic, Restaurant Girl; and Bruni, who Sietsema argues, bucked the growing trend to review a restaurant before it was ready. He also chronicles the rise of the friends and family, preview, and press dinners for writers and the rising issue of ethics in the food writing world.
A major takeaway: "More than ever, diners could use a reliable critical guide. But where once there were a few dependable voices who reviewed restaurants based on a common set of professional standards and strategies, there is now a digital free-for-all." Read it.
· Everyone Eats...But That Doesn't Make you a Restaurant Critic [CJR]