Everybody's a !@#$%^& Critic: Six Food Critics to Hate

Categories: The List
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Mike Licht, notionscapital.com
In the bad old days, restaurant criticism was the province of professionals, learned men and women with highly evolved palates who got paid by (mostly) newspapers to evaluate the food of local eateries without fear or favor, neither seeking nor accepting freebies, relaying their sophisticated judgments to the masses by way of deftly written columns.  

Or they were lucky bastards who figured out how to eat like a pig and drink like a fish on some rich publisher's dime, then scribble down what they remembered of it through a fog of fine Bordeaux before moving on to the next victim... er, restaurant. 


In the good new days, everybody's a fucking restaurant critic. You. Your mother. Her best friend. The chick with the plastic boobs. The guy down the block who hasn't eaten in a place not named "Mc" or "Colonel" for the past 20 years.  

The internet has become the Great Leveler. Nowadays, anybody with a keyboard, modem, and more balls than taste buds can call himself a restaurant critic -- rating dishes, ripping service, criticizing what took years of effort and (often) millions of dollars to produce because, after all, they had dinner there once and the sushi was raw. RAW!

It's a goddamned outrage. 

Now, there are amateur critics out there who possess abundant food knowledge and a lively writing style whose opinions on food, wine, and restaurants both enlighten and entertain, and Charlie appreciates the hell out of both of you. But for the rest, well, they seem to fall into one of six general categories. See which one the guy whose blog you were just reading falls into. 

Mr. Authentic. Nothing is ever culturally rigorous enough for this dillweed. If he got a tamal handmade by a Oaxacan abuelita in a street stall, he'd complain she didn't grow the corn for the masa. He's less concerned with whether the food tastes good than whether he can convince anyone that he knows what he's talking about.

Little Miss Wonderful. This chirpy food blogger never met a comped meal that wasn't sooo wonderful. She and her BFFs descend on this week's hot new restaurant like vultures, snapping blurry photos of one another doing their best Paris Hilton imitations. And if the hunky celebrity chef copped a feel during the group shot, well, that's sooo wonderful too.

Psycho Bob. Bob has issues. Maybe his parents didn't buy him a pony for Christmas; maybe he once fell headfirst into a vat of sauerkraut. Who knows? But everyone else who writes about restaurants is an idiot or a liar or a crook or the hellspawn of Ronald McDonald and Rachael Ray and don't you forget it! Hose him down before he hurts somebody.

Tightwad McCheapskate. This particular species of food writer has somehow convinced himself that all restaurant food ought to be free. Or at least a whole lot cheaper than what it actually costs. No meal is too delicious, no restaurant too delightful not to be dismissed with a single epithet: "Overpriced." He probably reuses his toilet paper.

A.S. Shole. You know the guy who scatters waiters like sheep before a hungry wolf the minute he walks into a restaurant? That's him. He lives to complain about everything, to make the staff miserable, then rant about how terribly he's been treated. He hasn't realized his waiter always puts a little something extra into his food.

Homely Homie. Why does this person even go to restaurants? Everything they serve he can do better, cheaper, and healthier at home. He sneers at fools who pay a no-talent schlumpf like Thomas Keller to create a 12-course feast when they could go to his house and eat 18 courses of exquisitely prepared French cuisine. As soon as he learns how to cook.

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