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Lesley C

Terraces

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Hmmm we'll have to get Robert on site to clear this up. That's a pretty heavy allegation.

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This was described to me by an asian restaurant owner on St Denis Street after inquiring why they were not listed in the Voir guide. She told me that they charged some kind of flat fee to have your restaurant be part of the next tour of reviews. Again, I would qualify this as uncertain since I am using this forum to confirm this or not. Some kind of flat administrative fee could be much more ethicaly correct than a free meal IMHO.

When I look at the descriptions of even the worst spots, even then, the review is never really harsh. Also, some important restaurants never got reviewed before this year (Kaizen comes to mind).

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I guess we could start a new post....

but concerning all that critic thing,

YOU HAVE TO READ the latest Gault Millau (french magagzine) of april/may

There is a big dossier called "Faut-il manger la critique Gastronomique ?"

Cuisiniers, Historiens et Journalistes passent à table


Alexandre G.

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Did anyone know that the Voir Resto guide asks for a ristourne to have a restaurant reviewed ? Sounds kind of odd to me.

Upon the suggestion by Lesley I found the quotes, that made charges against The Voir Resto guide, that I want Robert Beauchemin to answer. That I should post it here, instead of the enRoute thread.

I checked out my handy French-English dictionary which says  "to repay, return". Methinks that it is the type of deal where the critic dines for free in exchange for the review. Small free  "newspapers" often do this because they don't have the money to pay for fancy meals...

I have heard some magazine types talk about "publi-reportage" wherein a merchant pays for ad but gets a write-up as well. In other words it gives the impression that the write up is based on merit rather than advertising revenues.

Here's another posting, regarding this.

This was described to me by an asian restaurant owner on St Denis Street after inquiring why they were not listed in the Voir guide. She told  me that they charged some kind of flat fee to have your restaurant be part of the next tour of reviews. Again, I would qualify this as uncertain since I am using this forum to confirm this or not. Some kind of flat administrative fee could be much more ethicaly correct than a free meal IMHO.

When I look at the descriptions of even the worst spots, even then, the review is never really harsh. Also, some important restaurants never got reviewed before this year (Kaizen comes to mind).

Hear's another allegation, that I would like Robert to clear up.

---------

Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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I have never confirmed this but just wanted to say what I had been told by a restaurator. When I went to this asian restaurant on St Denis, I was told that it had been around for ages and asked the owner why I hadn't read about their place in the Voir guide... and this is basically what I was told. So the lady owner might be totally out of wack, especially if no other retaurant owners (and the guide lists 100s of them) had confirmed this on the board. My guess would be that she spoke through her arss and therefore maybe so have I...

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BTW, I'd like to point out that this year's Guide Resto Voir is being compiled by Jean-Philippe Tastet (formerly of Le Devoir) who is now at Voir. For those who didn't know, Robert Beauchemin is now at La Presse, and therefore no longer in charge of Voir's guide.

Thank you. Carry on.

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OK, this just in from Mr. Tastet:

"En ce qui concerne les ragots dont tu me fais part au sujet du Guide Restos Voir, je suis, comme toujours, émerveillé par le nombre de conneries que les gens peuvent échanger via internet. Ce serait vraiment bien que les personnes qui colportent des choses aussi énormes et aussi ridicules appuient leurs dires de faits réels. Do I care to comment? What do most reasonable people do when they see dog poop on the sidewalk?"

In other words, no, restaurants do not pay to be featured in the guide.

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I have started the VOIR restaurant guide 8 years ago and directed it for that many years. Not ONCE, did we ever, I repeat EVER, asked for a single black penny in exchange of anything, even less a review. It would completely defeat the purpose. I also know that it is done by certain people, but certainly in none of the major magazine or newspaper. At least that I know of. I am tempted to repeat what JPhilippe has just added today, but frankly, I prefer to refrain and thus, express my complete disdain at such foolishness. I would add however, that the question has been asked of me, repeatedly. And the answer is always: the paper gives us a budget to eat, we use it. Thank you very much. As for this asian lady who told Michael and Identifier, well, you know folks, there are lots of jealous people in the restaurant world, lots of people who are not happy that we do not put them in guides, some who are angy and some who are simply nasty - the world is such and where there are humans there is humanness - but hey! if we decide to obliterate a restaurant from the guide, thats our prerogative. We are the ones who write, the ones who publish and we make decisions according to a number of criterias (some of which are "constance" regularity I think). As for the people who sold adds in the guide, they were told very strongly NEVER to interfere with the work of the journalist. And they never did. I work on my side, they worked on theirs, I never even saw their face, did not know their names. And frankly, could'nt care less.

In any case, this is a very serious allegation and it is extremely easy to prove it wrong, extremely easy.

As for the reviews being "nice", read more. We made a choice, we chose the ones that were good and plus. A few mediocre or passable ones if they were very popular made it yearly and then dissapeared the following year, that was the rule (i.e. Altitude 747; Coq en stock, Chez clo, L'Endroit, Matteo, Napa, Hélène de Champlain, want more?). It is a guide, a repertory, not a scientific list of restaurants where things are analysed in details. For that matter, who cares about the finite details, we want the big picture, want it quick, and got it quick.

The popularity of the Guide proved us right. And I am very proud to have started it, worked in it for those years, and I will never have any regrets about how it was done. Because IT WAS done seriously folks.

Voila. I hope I got everything in. And I hope it answers your questions. As for the asian lady, want to know what I think of her?......javascript:emoticon(':wacko:')

R

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Thank you Robert (no I'm not kissing his ass, I mean that sincerely :rolleyes: ).

I'm glad you have a place to put the end to such rumours. I was once accused by a pretty crazy restaurateurs of only giving good reviews to people who paid for them. It was the most ridiculous and insulting comment I ever heard. I don't know where people get these ideas. I guess they saw it in a movie somewhere.

HOWEVER, there are guides in Montreal that do only include restaurants that pay to be included, such as the Tourisme Montreal Guide and others (I don't know about the Guide Debeur). But the Tourisme Montreal guide is more of a listing. No real reviews are included (though sometimes they lift quotes from old newspaper reviews).

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Hello everyone,

As a restaurateur for the past5 years and a waiter for the last 10 years before that, I would like to mention that I have never come by a restaurateur who paid for a good review, I have heard from some "ignorant restaurateur you must pay to get a review" but it’s bull...haven given certificates to the Voir rep….,, Robert Beauchemin sent them back as a conflict of interested. I believe it's to easy to say so and so got a review because they know the sister of the bother aunt who worked at some local paper. I just congratulated Angelo from bu for his review in the Devoir and J.R from Bronte for his review in the Gazette, and I know they did not pay, or give free drinks or send a bottle of wine to the table to help them get a better review. To make a long story short let us give respect to the people who take their job seriously and not make accusations.

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Hearsay should not be used when questioning someone's reputation. It's very easy from the anonymity of the message board. If you re-read your quotes you'll notice that none of the information was concrete. Publi-reportage occurs for all industries and is easily recognizable.

I can understand the reprecussions of a bad review on the bottom line, but some people don't like the taste of sour grapes so they spit them out. Please refrain from publicly attacking people without real evidence, it doesn't make for good digestion.

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Thanks very much Robert for explaining everything regarding the resto guide. I brought it up to you, with absolutely no malice intended. Several people mention serious charges. You would be the person to clear it up, once & for all. Have a good day.

--------

Steve

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As an avid reader of La Presse, Voir and a Voir Guide user/owner. I am happy that this is cleared up, I had been misslead and wanted to get an answer on this. I have always respected the folks that I read and always fascinated by the travelling memories and cultural references of Robert. Today's article in La Presse is a fine example of that. The mere fact that this thread died before it began was enough of answer for me that the comments had no foundations. From the get go, I had been told of a inscription fee, no one ever mentionned people getting paid to give a good review !!!! (this is where some scenesters start getting nutty).

And as much as a confused comment doesn't do anyone justice, the unwelcomed drama that pushes statements across the limit of psychosis isn't any better either. I believe some folks need to get a lay. Fast... Again, just an opinion.

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Folks, folks, folks. Relax, grab a good bottle of wine, and breathe through the nostrils, one by one. Thats a secret that I learned from my travels in India (bottle of wine excluded, replaced by other goodies). Thank you Michael and Identifier and Leslie, I think everyone understood my point. And if it is true that I often get "propositions" from restaurateurs, I only "huf" at them.

As for the fees Identifier talks about, frankly, I am not aware of it. I am convinced there never was such a thing at VOIR. One thing we did get though(and still do) is a lot of "demands", restaurateurs wanting me or anyone for that matter, to go and "do" a restaurant. Another "huf". I took the time however, to phone them and tell them thats not how things were done. Look, restaurant critics have existed as long as restaurants did, roughly 2oo years. Our "ancerstor" Grimaud de la Reyniere, was a tough bastard, a fine mind, an acute tongue and palate and a very good writer. We claim descent from this guy. With pride.

As for what Leslie mentionned, the "guides" are not really Guides, they're publicity vehicle.

That being said I must say that it was a very good exercise to write about all this, and a healthy one at that. I hope everyone profited.

And WE ALL need a good lay. As often as possible, like good food. It goes together.

R

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Wow do you guys ever get off topic fast.

The best terrace in Montreal - whether the food is craptacular or not - is at the St. Elizabeth. What is it, 6-story high walls covered in vines? Trees, lanterns, cobblestones and the chatter of patrons and hidden birds. There might not be any Ferrari's parked out front or hotties walking by it's a pretty magical place on a summer evening. Feels like something out of LOTR.

The tiny terrace at Les Folies on Mont Royal is sweet too.

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