Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We should probably do this with music reviewers, too

Have chefs rate them, I mean. :)

The Daily Meal asked chefs and restaurateurs to vote on America's 20 most prominent critics in 2012, on a restaurant-review scale of zero to four stars (four being best), based on four criteria: culinary knowledge, prose style, integrity (perceived), and personal likeability. We also asked for comments. "OK," you could almost hear the restaurant folks saying, "Want to visit my restaurant incognito a few times on your company’s dime and complain about a mistakenly sent-out plate and how loud I play my music then run to your messy desk and dock me a star? Gonna judge me on cuisine, atmosphere, d├ęcor, and service? Well, I’ve got a review for you, too!"

Last year, it was interesting to recognize that nobody came anywhere near a full four stars, and that nobody was given a goose egg. The nation's best food critic? Jonathan Gold. America's worst? The Orange County Register's Brad A. Johnson — who, incidentally, has described himself as the "best food critic in America and worldwide." Chefs rated Jonathan Gold and Brad Johnson (respectively) as America's smartest and dullest critics, gave Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue his due as having the best prose style, and identified The Houston Chronicle's Alison Cook as having the worst. The most trusted critic was Jonathan Gold; the least trusted reviewer, Brad A. Johnson. As far as likeability — we asked our panelists which critics they'd most like to sit down at a table with —Jonathan Gold again took first place, while Tim Carman of The Washington Post brought up the rear. (Check out last year’s full report for more details, and chefs, ahem, pithy comments.)

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