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Critics React to L.V. Anderson's Take on Expense Accounts

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Slate's L.V. Anderson responds to Robert Sietsema's post on Eater about the state of restaurant writing these days, and how shrinking budgets are affecting food criticism. Anderson boldly argues that critics shouldn't get expense accounts. From the post:

The fact that restaurant critics have expense accounts undoubtedly affects their experience at restaurants. That's because buying something on your boss's dime is a very different psychological experience from paying for something out of your own pocket, whether you're using a company credit card or filing an expense report later. If it's a restaurant critic's duty to convey what it's like for a normal schmo to dine at a restaurant, then the existence of a reviewing budget contradicts that duty.
Anderson also suggests that critics should get higher salaries and pay out of pocket for their review meals:
So let's assume for the sake of argument that Pete Wells currently makes $100,000 in salary and has an $80,000 reviewing budget. What if the New York Times started paying Wells $180,000 instead—and expected him to pay for meals out of his salary? Perhaps his reviews would not be so different from how they are now. But his experience of going to a restaurant, evaluating the prices on the menu, and paying for the bill at the end of the meal would be much more similar to the experience of an average diner.
Anderson's post has sparked a big debate on Twitter about expense accounts for critics. Here are reactions from Steve Cuozzo, Ryan Sutton, Pete Wells, and others:

Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton:





The Post's Steve Cuozzo:


Times critic Pete Wells:


Food writer Michael Nagrant:


The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan:


Serious Eats editor Max Falkowitz:


· Restaurant Critics Shouldn't Get Expense Accounts [Slate]
· Sietsema on the Current State of Restaurant Criticism [~EN~]

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