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Rude and Possessive Reporters

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

 I have had very rude and possessive reporters come into the establishments that I have owned or worked for and they thought their opinion would make or break me. I put them in the same class as a "health department  inspectors" which I think are "Failed Restaurateurs or Food Managers."Even the reporters on national TV network programs ie. GMA or  The Today Show plus the local news programs act like they are leading the Chefs ie. the Chef says use olive oil and the reporter says "then you would not want to use extra virgin olive oil" Or the Chef would say use  sea salt and the reporter says "then you would not use regular salt"etc. I would never do a presentation unless I could do it non-interrupted by the reporter, I don't need them to tell me how to cook or make a presentation. They are just rude! They are as bad as the "paparazzi" or the" ambulance chasing lawyers."

 

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2010/05/18/2010-05-18_gordon_ramsay_anthony_bourdain_and_tom_colicchio_teach_new_york_chefs_to_cook_up.html

post #2 of 21

Watchyaneed to do is to make a sign, you know, kinda like one of those international signs. 

 

This one would show a picture of a black Fedora with two "press tickets' stuck in the headband and a big red "X" through it.....

 

I have kicked out people taking picture of my showcase (I do artisan chocolates and pastries), and now I have signs on my door and showcase with a camera and a big red "X" through it.  Customers are more than welcome to purchase whatever they want and then take all the pictures they want to, but not to take pictures of my showcase and display shelves for their own purposes.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 21

Unfortunately, we have become slaves of the reporters opinion, perspective and palate.  I may think that some wildly obscure combination of ingredients is culinary genius (something normally thought up in a slightly hazed state) a poor review of whatever dish I have recently conceived is the end of its sales, no matter how truly perfect I think it is.  I am of the opinion that we embrace the reporter, however overzealous they are(which they all are to an irritating excess). If we dazzle their eyes and intrigue their palate the food that we create will be publicized to the masses which in turn, results in us selling our hearts(our hearts = the obscure creative dishes we passionately love and enjoy not only serving but eating).  Sorry I am disagreeing to some extent with other colleagues but remember the first time you read your name in the Post or the Times or whatever major food critiques column and said " holy @#$# they liked it!" or for all of you up and coming talents DREAM of it.  

 

Cheers to my first post on Cheftalk

 

post #4 of 21

Welcome to Cheftalk.

 

There are basically two camps of food critics:

 

The good, who insitictively know new trends, who know the restaurant business(not just food), and who use the power of the pen to do good within the restaurant scene.

 

The Bad, know negativisim sells, know the power of the pen has many rewards, and they don't like to stick their necks out trying to figure out new trends/people/places.

 

Vancouver has only one daily broadsheet paper, and for some reason, the food journalists at this paper seem to have an interest in restauant's advertising budgets.  Vancouver is probably one of the most ethnicaly diverse cities in N.America, but "The Sun" 's food reporters like to stick to the "The chosen few".  At last count, the Vancouver area had over 150 food related blogs.

 

I really do believe that each restaurant should have the right to choose if they want to be reviewed by a food journalist or not.  I also firmly believe that restaurants should have no say or contol over what is written if they choose to accept a review.

 

No one is taking the Hospitality Unions to task.  Some say they are like pigs at a trough.  Lousy analogy, they are like rats gnawing a hole in a farmer's silo, for the more a pig eats, the better price the farmer can get. When the silo is empty, the rat moves on.

 

At least someone is taking the food journalists to task...........

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 21

 

Here is a perfect example of a food critic in Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

securedownload.bmp

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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #6 of 21

Maybe I am spoiled...  If that is what your local critiques really are like than I pity you and beg you to pursue your culinary dreams in other locations. 

Where I have been they arrive unannounced, hidden, and disguised (legit we pay people very well that can recognize them on a busy weekend to stand in the FOH). 

 

Don't get me wrong I know it is a political business but stop flaying them and roasting them on an open spit and just appreciate what they have done for our careers. 

 

P.S. they are just patrons(they are all the same) a comped meal/drink/whatever goes a very long way at minimal cost to you.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

 I am sure there are exceptions but, the establishments I have contacted, the answer is always the same. After the curiosity seekers have gone their business is  less than before because of the locals being scared off by all the questions being asked by the curiosity seekers and taking up the time of the servers and  owners. I have checked with owners that were on Diners, Drive-inns, and Dives and on Man versus Food  and they have said they are sorry they ever agreed to be on their shows and were embarrassed the whole time and that newspaper coverage has never been that helpful. For it is the locals that pay the bills unless you are on the main highways or in a resort area, in that case you don't need much advertising. The owners that were on the Great Chef's series on PBS,  It was the reverse.

 

foodpump  Quote: 

No one is taking the Hospitality Unions to task.  Some say they are like pigs at a trough.  Lousy analogy, they are like rats gnawing a hole in a farmer's silo, for the more a pig eats, the better price the farmer can get. When the silo is empty, the rat moves on.

 

 (very good analogy)

Now  the Retail Union is trying to unionize Walmart, Not for the benefit of the employees but, because Walmart is the largest retailer and they want to be the largest Union.

Unions are why manufacturers went overseas, restaurants can't do that,  they just open and then they close. Unions are like blacksmiths, we don't need that many anymore.

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefSeanVincent View Post

Maybe I am spoiled...  If that is what your local critiques really are like than I pity you and beg you to pursue your culinary dreams in other locations.....

 

Nada Chance. Been living in the same city and same home for over 15 years, kid's schools are within walking distance, my biggest luxury in life is walking the 71/2 mins. to work every day.  I built this business up from from 4 cement walls, and I'm proud of my acomplishments.

 

 

Don't get me wrong I know it is a political business but stop flaying them and roasting them on an open spit and just appreciate what they have done for our careers.

 

No need to flay the ones who are doing their job.  The ones who thrive on negativism, the ones who like to throw their wieght around and assume that they are soley responsible for a restaurant's success and demand recognition for this should be taken to task.   True, many food journalists  have have promoted many a Chef's/restaurant's career.

BUT....many, many more have gone un-recognized for the simple fact that they(restaurants/owners/Chefs) are not part of the social fabric that the journalists are, that they don't donate enormous amonts of time or product to the gala charity events, or to newspaper-sponsored events, or have large amounts of cash available for the multi-media advertising thyat the "chosen few" always seem to have s abv e takere fact

 

P.S. they are just patrons(they are all the same) a comped meal/drink/whatever goes a very long way at minimal cost to you.

 

 

Mmmmm....Patrons with a readership of several hundred thousand and who can influence several hundred thousand.  I've known girls at parties who can blab out choice gossip, but not to the tune of several hundred thousand within a 12 hr period.


 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 21

I find the" professional critics" to be biased in whichever direction their employer leans... they go for trends, advertising dollars, flash. If the restaurant is hot and trendy and pays for advertising... that's who they talk about.

 

Worse are the part timers that write for the local "free papers"...

 

I had one come into my restaurant a few years back... their review was quite good actually, except for the paragraph where she stated that the Caesar Salad came with artificial bacon bits. I have never used fake bacon in my entire career. I make everything from scratch, and the bacon for the salad is cooked daily. Worse still... the editor of the paper couldn't see why I would be upset about it.

post #10 of 21

It seems that everyone disagrees with me.  I have no issue with this, I love what critics have done for my career. I even go as far as putting links to reviews on my resume/ bio.  It is utterly ridiculous, but every high end / wannabe high end establishment is looking for a chef they can promote.  My mentors work with freakin publicists.  The business is changing we no longer hide behind the closed doors of the kitchen.   I believe that you either need to change with the times or be left behind. 

post #11 of 21

Yup.

 

It's great that your mentors have publicists.

 

Look, I'm the plain girl at the dance, I've got no publicist, have no advertising budget, have no connections to get into the charity and gala events, all I have is my food and my business.  Truth be told, I'm just a 16 seat artisan chocolate and pastry place, I am the chief investor, chief publicist, chief pastrycook, and chief bottle washer.

 

Sour grapes?  Yeah, probably.

 

That's not to say I haven't been trying hard.  I've gotten into the bi-weeklies, onto local TV channels, morning radio.  I believe I've got this from my food, not from hype, and certainly not from prepared material that the mainsteam reorters here seem to regurgitate.

 

I do know that there are real food journalists out there.  Ones who aren't influenced by hype, or advertising, or prepared press blurbs.  Ones who have the gonads to write about unknown places, unknown people, new trends. 

I'd love to meet one......

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #12 of 21

1.  Chef Sean I agree with you.

 

2 (a).  I find the idea that news organizations should be prevented from reporting and critiquing public establishments frightening indeed.  How would you enforce such a law?

 

Call me wild-eyed socialist, but I'm with the First Amendment.  Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom ... of the press. 

 

On the other hand, that does not mean reporters and/or food critics have license to lie.  If a news organization, a blogger, or anyone else defames your restaurant, you have recourse in the civil courts.  Losers bear costs in defamation actions.

 

2 (b).  We probably don't have too much longer to worry about newspapers anyway.

 

3.  Please, please, PLEASE STOP the anti-union vituperation.  If you want to have a political discussion I respectfully ask that you do it at another site. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 5/25/10 at 11:58am
post #13 of 21

Unions in their day were good.They helped end the sweatshop era and give fair wages to employees. However they killed the Hens that laid the golden eggs. With plenty of infiltration by organized crime they went to far and used violence. They ruined our car manufacturing by forcing the companies into contracts that could never work. I refused to belong to them in any place I ever worked and in fact fought them and won in the NYC catering business. I was threatened, all my tires slashed , my windshields smashed etc. But managed to keep them out(Brought in my own union all legal and legit) beat them at their own game and glad of it.'' If you know what your doing, they need you, you didn't need them.''

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 21

I don't know what to do beyond saying please.  If you have something to say about unions or any other political matter say it somewhere else.  Even if you're right and some misguided minority who could benefit from your wisdom is wrong -- this is not the place for politics.

 

Please have the courtesy to stop.

 

BDL

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

 Back on topic, I know of restaurants that were closed down by the Health Department that got high praise by the newspapers a month before,They were a big weekly advertiser in their TV GUIDE. And the sales person for the ads promised positive revues to all advertisers.

I also Know their would not be a Cooks Union in southeast Michigan if it were not for the large UAW Union there and restaurants did not want to appear anti-union in that area.

Also the First Amendent was written before we had TV and Radio. We also had Drivers License before we had airplanes. Just because it's transportation dosen't mean it's all the same thing.

And this is a forum for Professional Chefs to discuss things that concern Chefs, be it unions, reporters or people who abuse the use of the title "Chef."  It's like a TV,  if you don't like to see it, change channels. And by the way" freedom of speech" was before we had microphones.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post


On the other hand, that does not mean reporters and/or food critics have license to lie.  If a news organization, a blogger, or anyone else defames your restaurant, you have recourse in the civil courts.  Losers bear costs in defamation actions.

 

Fair enough, lets talk about bloggers, in my town (Vancouver) we have over 150 restaurant blogger's sites.  Some are good, and some are not.

 

For me, "Good". means telling it like it is, backing up comments/statements/opinions with facts /actual experiences.  If they can back up their opinions with facts, then I can accept what they write.

 

But that's not always the case.  Many times I find my place "featured" on a bloggers site, with pics taken off of my website, and vague comments like "prices were up there", "found the service unprofessional", "decor in poor taste" with nothing to back up these stements.

 

O.T.O.H. I've had bloggers who claim to be "professional photographers" come in, order food, and take pics with their cellphone camera and then post theses pics on their website.  No comments. 

 

Ironically, this happens when I am featured on a local media source. I am left to believe that these bloggers have simply hit the google button to see what's new and then slapped something together about me without ever leaving the compuker.

 

Yeah, yeah legal recourse and all that.....

 

Listen, if I went around to parties and every time your name comes up, and I say, "oh yeah, BDL, I know him, his Muzzer was a 'amster, and ' is Fazzer smells of Elderberres" *.   There's not really much you can do about it, except on the off-chance that you meet me one day in a elevator  and set things right.

 

So, yeah, I do have the opportunity to things to court, but justice is expensive and time consuming, and if anything ever did come to trial the blogger/journalsit would be looong gone.

 

 

* (that line about hamsters and elderberrries is not mine, and I have never met BDL, nor have I been to parties where his name was mentioned)

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #17 of 21

I stopped being active in this business before the internet, so maybe I don't "know how it feels."  If I seem insensitive to damage caused by bad "word of mouth" there, I apologize.  If you're more than ordinary, you won't please everyone.  Similarly, if you take risks sometimes you fail.  Some people won't accept anything other than bad, bland food.  And some people are just idiots. 

 

Free speech means you can say it (or write it), but does not mean you are free of ensuing consequences.  People publishing bad things about your restaurant is one of the risks of owning a restaurant in a free society.  Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is entitled to put it forth.  Thank goodness for that. 

 

If someone writes that your food isn't as good as it used to be or even that it "sucks," that's an opinion and is protected speech.  If someone publishes that your restaurant is infested by cockroaches and it is not true, that's libel; and you have a cause of action.  Only you can decide if it's worth the trouble (substantial) and expense (most jurisdictions you get it back if you win) of pursuing it. 

 

Don't confuse what I've written with lack of empathy for the frustration you feel when reading BS internet reviews of your place.  Foodpump especially, I think you and I have learned enough about one another to have a very good idea of what kind of cook each of us is -- and I know you're darn good.  (I may even have had a dessert from you when my daughter attended Emily Carr but am not completely sure.)

 

Another word about the First...  It only applies to public places; and only the government is restrained from acting to curb free speech.  It does not apply to private forums such as this one except insofar as management (the mods and ultimately Nicko) permit.  If Chef Talk chooses not to allow discussions of politics and religion (for instance) or to ban bad language, that is its perogative and does not alter your "rights" in any way.  Here, we have none.  But just as in a "public space" you are responsible for defamatory remarks.

 

Finally, I'm afraid I must disagree with CaterChef's notions of the First Amendment. 

 

BDL

post #18 of 21

I only find the humour in all that is said.

                                                            On that note I take the critics the same way ( dogs that they are.... just looking for a bone to chew on and a place to s**t so they can keep on rolling around town and be well fed and taken care of by their bosses/owners) with laughter.

                                         If you can not take criticism , get out of this business immediately or it will eat you alive ( just like rabid dogs do....( could not help myself )

 

I love dogs and have had 5 of my own. No offense to doggies out there....I just have a experience with the Canine Variety

 

 

Gypsy

My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #19 of 21

Informed criticism is fine. It's the overly opinionated, misinformed and down right false stuff that gets under my skin. One cannot critique something unless they know what they are talking about.

 

A GOOD movie critic must have a solid understanding of photography, compostion, storytelling, for example before they are able to comment on another's work. One can say "I liked it cuz it had lots of 'splosions!!!" but that is not a critique.

 

What I am beginning to see is opinionated fools that think that having an opinion is enough. One should not critique a bistro for not having an extensive fine dining menu, for example, or critique a dish when they obviously have no concept of the dish itself. (My example in another thread of the "Bolognese shouldn't have carrot in it" comment).

 

The problem, in my experience, is that too many people think that eating food makes them experts on food. No. It means they like what they like. Someone that only eats well done meat has no business critiquing beef. Someone who only eats steak has no business critiquing Indian cuisine.


Edited by PrairieChef - 5/26/10 at 8:35pm
post #20 of 21

Just a note regarding the discussion of unions. This is something that could be perceived as being at least on the periphery of being political. However, it is something that chefs need to deal with and discussion along job-related topic lines will be allowed unless I am told otherwise. That said, keep discussions on the topic of unions polite and be certain there is a purpose behind bringing it up. This means no rants for the sake of ranting, be they pro-union or anti-union. 

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #21 of 21

Those who can do. Those who can't teach. Those who can't do either are just critics.

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