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Does a Food Critic's Anonymity Matter?

Do You Care About a Food Critic's Anonymity?

The food world is abuzz with the news that the LA Times restaurant critic, S. Irene Virbila, has been outed. A photo of the long-time critic has been circulating the web, and if LA chefs and restaurateurs didn't know what she looks like, they sure do now. But in a time when virtually anyone's image can be found by doing a simple search on Google, does a critic's anonymity really matter? How do you feel about it?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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amber512 amber512 6 years
It's definitely hard for a critic to not be biased if the staff is being different with them than they would with a regular customer. Their identity being a secret is a key to a successful review.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
I believe that the critic while reviewing a restaurant should be treated as any other customer to get a fair assessment so anonymity is needed. But I think some critics embellish to get readers. Also, I've seen some restaurants get bad reviews for simple mistakes that aren't really a big deal to regular diners. I trust reviews from friends more than anything else.
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 6 years
I'm ambivalent, but there is something to be said for someone like S. Irene Virbila or Michael Bauer or Sam Sifton (of the LA Times, SF Chronicle and NY Times, respectively). If you still make an effort to mask your identity — despite the fact that it's often a fruitless endeavor — you're at least sending a message to readers that there's an element of integrity you hope to preserve in your reviews. I do respect that.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Uggggh! Ignore the typos. I am caffeine deficient! :coffee:
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
I would much rather know who is doing the critiquing. There is a local guy that has a habit of visiting new restaurants after only giving them a only a week or two after they open to get their groove on. More often than not, the reviews are far from stellar. Not exactly fair. While I read his reviews, I always take them with a grain of salt. There are others (named) that are much more credible.
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