Where is the Line Drawn for What is Fit to Print for Food Writers? (reflection #24)


I read a food blog post about a San Francisco restaurant that was caught not selling iced or hot tea to the guests! The dim-witted waitress had explained that tea drinking guests tend to stay for a long time after the dinner thus tea had been eliminated. Our investigative food writer had not only published this in detail as a blog post, on a major newspaper website, but also contacted the ownership to hear their side. They obviously were innocent and the whole thing was a misunderstanding which always is claimed to be. In real life, they only have to defend themselves because they are being crucified by the local press. Isn’t their menu their business? One the strong points of the San Francisco and many other cities food scenes is that establishments don’t have to follow the norms dictates by whomever. They can start a restaurant with a menu of their choice and what if they won’t serve beef or American wine or hot tea? Will they be attacked in the media? People used to be criticized for not serving American beef. That is no longer valid. They are still being criticized for not serving American wine and this is an ongoing issue! Are they going to be criticized for violating the smallest norms such as not carrying tea or serving bottled water or who-knows-what-is-next? Does not a food editor for a major local paper know that such mention of a restaurant will bring them possible back luck? Does this really qualify as a controversy to publish on Monday morning? I give up.

I have read many reviews by the same food writer in which the restaurant does everything right and loses stars by technicalities such as spoon missing, saltshaker taken or a minute mistake.  I guess when doing a good job all little mistakes count as fatal and if doing a mediocre job, much is forgiven.  I kept the writer anonymous so his career is not ruined (Yeah! It is a joke.  Everyone knows who the jerks are.) and he could have made a post with no restaurant name to make his point but do no harm.  But, no once we get one on a technicality, we have to fry them in public, don’t we?

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.

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