Wading ever deeper into the ethically fuzzy world of food blogging and online reviewing, the L.A. Times did a great job of making everything even murkier in an exhaustive story about the changing world of restaurant criticism in the After-Google (AG for short) era. We'll save you some time and sum it up quickly:
The question: Is the old-fashioned model of anonymous food criticism even possible anymore? Does is really even matter?
The answer: No and no. Point being, a crummy restaurant can't instantly become better, no matter who walks in the door.
The jumping off point is the recent controversy surrounding newly-minted New York Daily News restaurant critic and former Restaurant Girl, Danyelle Freeman, whose lovely mug has been plastered all over the Daily News and the internet in recent months. This has left food critics with several burning questions: first, how can a major print publication so flippantly disregard the rules for anonymous criticism, and second: why didn't God make me a cute, young brunette too?
The article does point out a few high-profile critics that remain relatively unrecognizable, the Chronicle's Michael Bauer among them. A cursory image search turned up only this quarter-profile shot, alleged to be Bauer, and this shot (far right), which may or may not be the man himself.
But in the age of celebrity chefs and the Food Network, it only seems natural that critics would yearn to achieve a similar level of media whoredom as their back-of-the-house counterparts. In the end, it's a good thing the Daily News' food criticism doesn't mean shit compared to the New York Times. Zing!
— Brian Bernbaum