About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009
Dear George
The normally cheerful Australian MasterChef's George Calombaris has revealed something of a dark side in a recent article in the Herald Sun's extrafood supplement.

In a piece on Melbourne food bloggers, Calombaris was interviewed and revealed his disdain for the food blogging fraternity, in particular, online restaurant reviewers.

In a quite bizarre and previously unheard of restaurateur-lauds-food-critics moment, he had this to say.

"They monitor it and see what's going on. These are trained professionals. These critics know what they're talking about. They've got a palate. They eat, that's their job, that's their living. (Bloggers) have no idea about restaurants. They've no idea how they're run."

Been getting a little cosy with Matt Preston lately?

Mate, let me tell you a secret.

Criticizing a dish or the service or even the decor has nothing to do with knowing how the restaurant is run. Do you really think food critics hold back because of that knowledge, or are they out to inform readers with their honest opinion?

I can tell you something else. Reviewers may hang around fashionable places like yours, giving the impression of monitoring you, but the sad truth is the vast majority of restaurants have only one chance to impress them, There are far too many for a second look.

There's no doubt food critics are trained professionals, they're journalists, university trained - to write. But unless there is some secret food-mason society that no one else has heard about, how exactly do they obtain their palate? By eating out, often. Reading what others are writing about, or even, heaven forbid, actually cooking.

Which seems to be what most food bloggers are doing.

Perhaps we don't say it as well or wittily as a journalist would, the right word may escape us, the grammar may be out of kilter, but we manage to get our view across. That's the essence of blogging. Those that get it right and manage to connect are read, the others fall by the wayside.

A bit like the restaurant business wouldn't you say?
  posted at 8:38 pm

At 3:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back Neil.
A great point you make. George is obviously a very talented chef but ill informed on this issue it seems. It was only a mtter of time before the poor lamb slipped up under the intense weight of the omni present media. Is it just me or do I detect a tipping point into the negative lately for the Colombaris PR Leviathan?
For the record I did watch celeb Master chef & I'm tired already. Whats with Matt's hair these days, he looks like David Cassidy?

At 10:44 pm, Anonymous X-luva said...

...and we should listen to somebody who, after reviewing for 14 years tells us he's never bothered visiting one of the country's top restaurants.

... then slams them because they don't lick his boots (would have said smething else - but it's a family blog) like the other restaurants that he has graced and been fawned over???

Do they not realise that the industry they are canning is the same one that they rely on for their living??

At 12:00 am, Anonymous Duncan | syrupandtang said...

hey hey Neil. Not only that, but did you see the piece about his rant at a tweeting journo in The Age ,today?

At 11:59 am, Blogger Thermomixer said...

Put that article away to read later. I think that food bloggers do restaurants more good than bad.

What do they say - any publicity is good publicity.

It would have been good for the reviewer X-luvva referred to above to have given the Grange a second look as George suggests they do.

Keep up the good work Neil.

At 12:28 am, Blogger Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Neil
As always succict and accurate.
Keep it up

At 12:29 am, Blogger Elliot and Sandra said...

Succinct that is!!!

At 8:59 am, Blogger WhiteTrashBBQ said...

Amen Brother!

I don't know about the restaurant review business where you are, but here in NYC, there's no anonymous reviewers except the bloggers.

We're the only ones who will tell the truth!

At 12:51 am, Blogger Anh said...

Haven't had the chance to read your posts lately, Neil. Such a pleasure to read them again.

I have had enough of the negative views on food bloggers from food industry professionals. I mean really, wake up guys, you don't serve food for the critics, do you?


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