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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Switchup: Chefs review America's food critics

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Oh, those pain-in-the-ass food critics, with their stars and their points and their beans. What do they know? Maybe Guy Fieri's American Kitchen & Bar tastes just fine if you're a tourist. (Did you ever think of that, Pete Wells?) And what better revenge could a restaurateur have on a food critic than to get a grumpy cellphone picture of her and put it on the Web?

The website The Daily Meal decided to turn the tables on America's culinary pontificators and let chefs and restaurateurs grade some of the nation's most preeminent critics:

For this, our first annual critics' scorecard, The Daily Meal polled dozens of the nation’s most notable chefs and restaurateurs and asked them to vote on America's best known critics. Twenty critics were rated on a restaurant review scale of zero to four stars (four being a glowing review) based on four criteria: culinary knowledge, prose style, integrity (perceived), and likability. Even better, participants could actually critique critics and writers. Yes, anonymity was granted to the chefs and restaurateurs who responded to our questions, but they're all elite industry figures, and most are household names.

So how did local food critic Brett Anderson fare? Sort of mehplacing No. 12 out of 20 of the nation's top restaurant reviewers, a score low enough that the Daily Meal called it "surprising."

Brett Anderson, The Times-Picayune,
2.31 Stars

He's well-respected in the industry and was even a heavy favorite for The New York Times' restaurant critic position before Pete Wells was appointed. So it's a little surprising that The Times-Picayune's on-again-off-again restaurant critic Brett Anderson only rated 12th place in the survey. Still, chefs did have positive things to say."Smart, friendly, forward and genuine," one chef noted. "Has done some really great writing. He's famous, almost qualified for the food critic position at The New York Times."

CULINARY KNOWLEDGE: 2.264 stars (15th place)
PROSE STYLE: 2.256 stars (14th place)
INTEGRITY: 2.472 stars (8th place)
LIKE TO SHARE A MEAL?: 2.256 (10th place)

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