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Society Volunteer Ethics Policy

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Code of Ethics

The reputation of the Society is a critical element in maintaining both access to sources of news and knowledge and the trust and support of our membership. This reputation has taken several years to build and is easily damaged. This code of ethics is designed to help Society volunteers and correspondents uphold our reputation.


  • We will consider all sides in any culinary debate; this applies both to editorial and educational policy and to moderation of the public forums. We will strive for impartial treatment of all subjects, no matter how controversial. We will treat the people we write about with fairness and civility.
  • We will treat our members fairly, in accordance with our policies and guidelines. We will treat our members' posts fairly, never editing their content without permission.


  • We will not give favored editorial treatment to Society donors, underwriters, friends, volunteers, correspondents or special-interest groups.
  • Volunteers and correspondents may not use non-public information gathered through Society channels for personal gain, nor may they use their association with the Society for personal gain.
  • Society volunteers (or anyone on assignment for a Society service such as the Daily Gullet, the eGullet Culinary Institute or eG Spotlight, i.e., correspondents) will not accept gifts of food, wine or other inducements in exchange for providing publicity or favorable reviews.


  • We will do our best to check all of the facts that we report, especially where these facts have come through secondary sources (newspapers, internet, etc.). We will correct substantive errors of fact in a timely manner.
  • Where possible, we will base our published views on facts, but given the inherent subjectivity of judgments about food and drink, we aspire not to objectivity but to open and fair consideration of multiple points of view.
  • A quote or paraphrase from an interviewee or speaker must accurately reflect what that person was asked or was responding to. We will tell members and readers about the circumstances of an interview (such as the time the interview took place, the fact that an interviewee was speaking to us while on the fly, etc.) if that information is pertinent.


  • We will not allow sources or interviewees to dictate how a topic will be covered, or which other voices or ideas will be included. We will not pay for information from sources or newsmakers.
  • We will comply with copyright and other intellectual property laws. We will not tolerate any form of plagiarism.


  • We will maintain separation between our editorial volunteers and our funders. While volunteers will inevitably end up talking to experts and officials who work at organizations that fund us (and their grantees), we will not discuss the planning of eG Forums topics, eGCI classes, Daily Gullet articles or eG Spotlight events with grant-making officials.
  • If we report on an organization or individual who funds the Society, we will disclose that relationship.

Conflicts of interest, complimentary products and services

  • We will strive to avoid undisclosed potential conflicts of interest in our editorial publications and in our moderation of the public forums.
  • A volunteer involved in a debate may not act as a moderator in that debate.
  • Society volunteers and correspondents who report on restaurants or food events may accept, in furtherance of their reporting duties and not for personal gain, complimentary products and services, including food, drink, travel and press passes or tickets customarily made available.
  • When reporting is based on complimentary products or services, it must be disclosed, as must relevant potential conflicts of interest. It is usually sufficient to disclose a potential conflict or a comp, e.g., a close tie with a particular restaurateur or chef, or the fact that a meal has been provided free of charge, once. However, repeat disclosure is required when it is central to subsequent discussions.
  • The directors of operations and executive director will be consulted if there is any doubt about the appropriateness of an arrangement, the appearance of a conflict or the extent of necessary disclosure.


  • The code applies to Society volunteers (e.g., managers, hosts, specialists) and correspondents (e.g., people on assignment for eGCI classes, Daily Gullet articles or eG Spotlight events)
  • The code, last revised on 6 October 2007, took effect on 2 April 2006 and applies to conduct thereafter.


  • Suspected code violations should be reported, only via e-mail or personal messenger (PM), to the directors of operations and executive director. Plausible claims will be investigated and handled by an internal review team.

Code not complete

  • This code does not present a complete list of behaviors that would violate either our fairness or conflict of interest rules. Application, extent and content of the code will evolve as we identify specific situations.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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