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Giving Negative Restaurant Feedback


winegeek
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So, it's the style (writing voice) rather than the substance (her expertise as a food critic) that keeps her employed.  (I've only read the one review in question, so I don't know if it is typical of her style.)

Nicely put Mano. And yes, it is typical of this writers style.

Now, most egulleters do not posess the above attributes, nor the responsibility, that a professional food critic does. At least that is my opinion.

PS:

Its Sister Wendy :wink:

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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I've only read the one review in question, so I don't know if it is typical of her style.

If there was a "Write Like A Gill" class, her review of Rare would classify as lecture material.

It should be remembered that food writing is not really her strongest suit as I'm sure the nomination for the award she alluded to upthread was for her Arts and Entertainment reporting. Traditionally, her beat has been to cover stories like this, that, and the other. Interestingly, she has come under fire in the past for not restraining her particular brand of critical "honesty" to the more exacting realm of cuisine.

Now, I've been very vocal in my criticisms of Gill, from the time she called Watermark chef Linda Larouche's food "crap" to the time she whined gratingly about Habit Lounge (and Diva, Century, Rare, et cetera ad infinitum), but when her work is viewed through the prism of the irrelevant-to-food milieu of film, arts, and celebrity gossip, her "award-nominated" tone is easily understood. Much of the subject matter is vapid by definition.

Her weekly forays into food writing might just be a few more hours on her Globe paycheck (and it might benefit us all, myself included, if they are read as such), but the fruit of her much-maligned style is singular: the selling of many newspapers.

Look closely there, and you'll find the rub. Gill could make a train wreck out of Ebulli before breakfast, and that's sweet copy.

In the end, it is a magnificent shame that our most respected national publication holds our "small town" in such contempt as to not afford us a professional. In other words, our restaurants (both deserving and undeserving) are paying the price for what increasingly appears to be a regional short-change.

Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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......   it is a shame that our most respected national publication holds our "small town" in such contempt as to not afford us a professional, and a mighty pity that our restaurants, both deserving and undeserving, pay the price.

Very nicely said. :cool:

Edited by ~cayenne~ (log)

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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So, it's the style (writing voice) rather than the substance (her expertise as a food critic) that keeps her employed.  (I've only read the one review in question, so I don't know if it is typical of her style.)

Nicely put Mano. And yes, it is typical of this writers style.

Now, most egulleters do not posess the above attributes, nor the responsibility, that a professional food critic does. At least that is my opinion.

PS:

Its Sister Wendy :wink:

One wouldn't expect egulleters to have the attributes of a professional because they're not professionals. With so many blogs and internet opportunities to give our opinions in public fora, we tend to make the mistake of judging what others write by a higher, professional standard. Only the people who make their living as critics should be held to that standard. The rest of us mooks are free to spout our opinions while remaining anonymous. For that reason alone I expect my opinions to be taken with a grain of salt.

IMO Sister Wendy rules!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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So, it's the style (writing voice) rather than the substance (her expertise as a food critic) that keeps her employed.  (I've only read the one review in question, so I don't know if it is typical of her style.)

Nicely put Mano. And yes, it is typical of this writers style.

Now, most egulleters do not posess the above attributes, nor the responsibility, that a professional food critic does. At least that is my opinion.

PS:

Its Sister Wendy :wink:

One wouldn't expect egulleters to have the attributes of a professional because they're not professionals. With so many blogs and internet opportunities to give our opinions in public fora, we tend to make the mistake of judging what others write by a higher, professional standard. Only the people who make their living as critics should be held to that standard. The rest of us mooks are free to spout our opinions while remaining anonymous. For that reason alone I expect my opinions to be taken with a grain of salt.

IMO Sister Wendy rules!

I agree with you, which is why I am concerned that the members of that forum are being held to account for the accusations that A Gill levels.

Love the Sister.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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So, it's the style (writing voice) rather than the substance (her expertise as a food critic) that keeps her employed.  (I've only read the one review in question, so I don't know if it is typical of her style.)

Nicely put Mano. And yes, it is typical of this writers style.

Now, most egulleters do not posess the above attributes, nor the responsibility, that a professional food critic does. At least that is my opinion.

PS:

Its Sister Wendy :wink:

One wouldn't expect egulleters to have the attributes of a professional because they're not professionals. With so many blogs and internet opportunities to give our opinions in public fora, we tend to make the mistake of judging what others write by a higher, professional standard. Only the people who make their living as critics should be held to that standard. The rest of us mooks are free to spout our opinions while remaining anonymous. For that reason alone I expect my opinions to be taken with a grain of salt.

IMO Sister Wendy rules!

I agree with you, which is why I am concerned that the members of that forum are being held to account for the accusations that A Gill levels.

Love the Sister.

By being concerned about Ms. Gill's accusations is a fatal error in judgement. By doing so, you're holding yourself to her screwed-up standards. In other words, it gives her cred where none is deserved or earned.

Listen. Bona fide professional food/restaurant critics have chops; and I'm not talkin' about veal, pork or lamb. They know food as I described above. It sounds like Gill is a diletante (sp?) when it comes to being a food critic, but she's convinced herself she's the real deal.

Love the Sister and the (Chambers, Allman and Righteous) Brothers, too.

Edited by Mano (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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By being concerned about Ms. Gill's accusations is a fatal error in judgement.  By doing so, you're holding yourself to her screwed-up standards.  In other words, it gives her cred where none is deserved or earned.

Listen.  Bona fide professional food/restaurant critics have chops; and I'm not talkin' about veal, pork or lamb.  They know food as I described above.  It sounds like Gill is a diletante (sp?) when it comes to being a food critic, but she's convinced herself she's the real deal. 

Love the Sister and the (Chambers, Allman and Righteous) Brothers, too.

To clarify, I feel that we are being held to account by other egulleters.

My real beef with A Gill is that in hijacking a "restaurant review" to level darts at this board, she has done very real disservice to a chef and partner who have done little to deserve it.

:wink:

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Let me say at the outset that while I find Ms. Gill petulant and tiresome, knowing how irrelevant her views will be to the pleasure I might have at a particular restaurant I am grateful as it saves me from having to even consider reading her reviews. There is only so much time after all. If only Christy Blatchford would do the restaurant reviews - now there's a woman who can write.

Now to the point at hand. Negative restaurant feedback. It is definitely not an easy thing to do and having posted quite a few negative reviews of restaurants held in very high esteem in our (small) town (Vancouver) I did so because I felt that my experience was valid and more importantly, was at odds to the other generally very positive reviews. Unlike a critic, my negative criticism was almost always posted after only one meal and for that I have often felt somewhat remorseful. Perhaps I should have withheld my comments - it might have been an off night. But I only have so much cash to spend in restaurants and it seems difficult to justify a return engagement when there are other options.

But in reflection (after wading through this thread), I realize that my negative reviews have only been posted about the more prominent restaurants at which I have had a meal not worthy of the hype. And that is what gives me pause. Just the other evening I had a truly dreadful experience - indifferent service, in fact we timed it. 20 minutes until we had a glass of wine and then after having to make 3 different selections as they were out of just about everything. Humorous note - they were offering a 2005 BC Cab Sauv! When I pointed out to the waitress that there might be an error on the wine list (I was being petulant) she told me to not bother telling her - she didn't like wine and didn't know anything about it. The food was a match for our waitress and her personality - devoid of anything of interest, tasteless and frankly cold. We had gone to the restaurant because of reviews on eGullet and left shaking our heads in wonder at having spent $85 on 2 glasses of wine and 2 truly awful bowls of pasta from a restaurant that had been so highly touted.

But I didn't even think of posting about my experience - it is a small neighbourhood restaurant and isn't trying to make a statement about food (local, sustainable etc) and I assume that neither the staff nor the chef could conceivably care that I had a bad experience.

So why do I post about a bad experience at a top-name? Because as has been pointed out up thread, in those establishments I truly believe there is someone who cares. But why don't I call the restaurant and speak with the owner? Wouldn't that be more appropriate? Somehow, it seems so much easier to sit down at the keyboard and give the feedback this way. I guess at heart I am a real coward. Because on reflection, it does seem inexcusable that I wouldn't give my criticism in person.

In one instance I have had a response via PM from the restaurant. I was quite taken aback initially but then realized that perhaps the ability to tell the restaurant when things hadn't been quite right was a good thing after all. Because without eGullet they likely wouldn't get that feedback and maybe it is that feedback that ensures they have a way to check on their performance. After all management can't be everywhere, all the time.

So I will continue to post reviews of meals that don't make it as well as those that delight me to bits. I can assure you I am not about to flounce into the kitchen and denounce the Tuna Melt so telling about the good and the not so good in a public place does have its place. And for the record - I truly loved my meal at Rare. We were delighted with our meal and we will go back. But if it turns out that at a subsequent meal, things aren't so great, I will feel quite comfortable in saying honestly - things weren't what they should have been.

Cheers,

Karole

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[...]Now to the point at hand. Negative restaurant feedback. It is definitely not an easy thing to do and having posted quite a few negative reviews of restaurants held in very high esteem in our (small) town (Vancouver) I did so because I felt that my experience was valid and more importantly, was at odds to the other generally very positive reviews. Unlike a critic, my negative criticism was almost always posted after only one meal and for that I have often felt somewhat remorseful. Perhaps I should have withheld my comments - it might have been an off night. But I only have so much cash to spend in restaurants and it seems difficult to justify a return engagement when there are other options.

Right, and I think it's quite alright to post a reaction to a single meal as long as it's clear that that's what you're posting. It can be considered a meal report or a snapshot, rather than a review that resulted from several visits.

But in reflection (after wading through this thread), I realize that my negative reviews have only been posted about the more prominent restaurants at which I have had a meal not worthy of the hype. And that is what gives me pause. Just the other evening I had a truly dreadful experience - indifferent service, in fact we timed it. 20 minutes until we had a glass of wine and then after having to make 3 different selections as they were out of just about everything. Humorous note - they were offering a 2005 BC Cab Sauv! When I pointed out to the waitress that there might be an error on the wine list (I was being petulant) she told me to not bother telling her - she didn't like wine and didn't know anything about it. The food was a match for our waitress and her personality - devoid of anything of interest, tasteless and frankly cold. We had gone to the restaurant because of reviews on eGullet and left shaking our heads in wonder at having spent $85 on 2 glasses of wine and 2 truly awful bowls of pasta from a restaurant that had been so highly touted.

But I didn't even think of posting about my experience - it is a small neighbourhood restaurant and isn't trying to make a statement about food (local, sustainable etc) and I assume that neither the staff nor the chef could conceivably care that I had a bad experience.[...]

Interesting you should put it that way. I never post my meal reports with the idea in mind that someone at the restaurant will read them and do something in reaction to them. If that should happen, that would be fine, but I doubt it has. So why do I post meal reports? So that others can benefit from them, and also because I just plain enjoy sharing the experience. Usually, I figure that other members might benefit by reading about a good restaurant they may not have known about, or my having chimed in with a positive opinion in case anyone values my opinion, but should I have had a really bad experience, my post might be able to save someone else from having one. So just as others have helped me to find good food and avoid bad food, I try to return the favor. Which gets me to my point: If you post the name of the restaurant (not here, in the relevant thread in the Vancouver forum), by virtue of your having declared that the emperor has no clothes, you may puncture what sounds like a so far impenetrable aura of invincibility about that restaurant and create a debate that may bring out other criticisms. At worst, you might be a lone voice of dissent but still could cause someone to reconsider spending hard-earned money there.

I guess I really don't understand at all the idea of posting as a way of letting the staff or chef know something. If you simply want to tell the staff or chef something, do it directly. Surely, you must have some other motive for posting here? Not to share your opinions with other members??

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pan:

I think I mislead you - what I was trying to say that I had never even imagined that my posts were read by the staff at restaurants so was quite startled to receive feedback from a restaurant. As for posting about the negative experience the other night, I declined as I felt the restaurant in question is not trying to be more than it is. A small neighbourhood joint with no pretensions to providing excellent food etc. Where that is the case and my experiences are different I do give my opinion precisely for the reasons you state - the emperor is not always fully clothed. And I think it is useful to read a different perspective. Just as on Amazon, I find the negative reviews can be quite revealing and often help me make my evaluation as to the worth of the book. (My favorite was the person who was furious that the book Execution by a former GE executive was about business and not capital punishment.)

I hope this is a bit more cogent than my previoius post; I have finished my wine so it might well be.

Cheers,

Karole

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And I hope that we can all remember that the best part of a meal is the company shared, rather than the foie served.

That is what mama always taught me :wink:

Hmm. Got me to thinking . . .

There There Now

Eva and I have been travelling quite a bit, and yet thankfully on the way home from the airport, a friend, who is also the author of "Vegan Cooking For One" (you may remember her much-admired recipe for Lack of Ram) hijacked us to There.

We were appreciative that she did. There is hard to find, and perhaps that explains why even the Richmond Mentor's erstwhile food critic took almost a week to write it up in her column, Unamused Bouche. The location has buried a number of restaurants, including Here and Whatever. The storefront was also briefly a florist, and then a taxidermy parlour.

The article in the Mentor that put the restaurant on the map was called "There There Now" and it was apocolyptic in terms of questioning if more restaurants shouldn't have apostrophes in their names. I don't know if you saw the review but it also addressed the question of ubiquity in recent restaurant openings and the global shortage of shortribs.

Well, first impressions count for Eva and me and we really liked the design riffs. That cobalt blue paint that Here was known for has been replaced by a fresh lick of white at There. "It's so different," Eva exclaimed, "that I feel like I'm neither here nor there."

It's a veritable soup opera, with many seasonal, sustainable versions (a small donation from each sale goes to helping restore the offshore kelp forest) available by both the cup and the bowl! No more hassle with "One Size Fits All" soups here; the daily specials from "The Potagerie" are even available in special flights of three demi-tasse called soupçons. What an adventurous concept in this time of restraint and it's so refreshing to find a room that the food critics haven't completely sullied with their gossamer prose.

So we had the 42-Poems Tea. It was ephemeral and yet provocative in the way that your hot cousin can get under your skin.

We followed with the 'Just Say Ahi', a combination of sneered yellowfin and gruyère brulée leavened with Second Beach sea foam. Eva thought it her penultimate dining experience, and I have to say I wondered if I had another meal left in me too. We were reminded of that when an order of 'Avian Blue' arrived, a brace of thrice-coddled game birds in a stew of curaçao-piqued lentils. "Quelle melange!" Eva exclaimed. "A farrago fit for a rinse," I soon agreed.

Restaurant director Rod Spumata eventually slumbered over to share some other flights of fancy. As you may know, not so many Richmond restaurants have wine lists of reputation. Spumata, it seems, is single-handedly out to change this notion, even if he encouraged us to spit. "You just never know where this has been," he said, pouring us shots of Kirzinger Blanco, a meritage of travelling willberries and pinot grief. Despite what you may have heard about this wine, it was average.

The live fish tank served up other extremities, some more willing than others. The dim sum of its parts brought a still-live ling, hand caught by the gills! Which chef convincingly cut and thrust.

Soon enough though, it stopped squirming although we were momentarily distracted by a steaming dumpling trolley that overturned on a family of four, killing the father by degrees. The restaurant owner graciously offered to adopt the children and comp the desserts. These gestures made me proud to be Canadian.

As I said earlier, There is hard to find. It's near the intersection of No. 9 Road and Westminster Highway, not far from where Double Exxtacy Gardens used to be, and pretty much where jumbo airliners would crash if they were so disposed.

Good fortune! And blessings for an Enchanted April!

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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To further beat a horse I've been going after (although I'm not sure it's quite dead yet), these posts display different ways of looking at this board.

I would never analogize making a critical comment about a restaurant to "telling a friend he has BO." To me, restaurants aren't my friends. They're businesses competing for my and my friends' money. My friends are other potential consumers. I direct my friends to places I think are worthwhile and warn them about places I think aren't.

This "consumer guide" view of this board obviously isn't shared by some of the other people who've posted in this thread, who appear to view it more as a vehicle for socializing with others who share an important interest with them. I confess that I can't really see the point of that -- but it's evident that they can't really see the point of what I want, either. I suppose it's interesting that some local boards evolve one way and others the other way. Maybe it's true that Candanians are just nicer than people farther south.

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To further beat a horse I've been going after (although I'm not sure it's quite dead yet), these posts display different ways of looking at this board.

I would never analogize making a critical comment about a restaurant to "telling a friend he has BO."  To me, restaurants aren't my friends.  They're businesses competing for my and my friends' money.  My friends are other potential consumers.  I direct my friends to places I think are worthwhile and warn them about places I think aren't.

This "consumer guide" view of this board obviously isn't shared by some of the other people who've posted in this thread, who appear to view it more as a vehicle for socializing with others who share an important interest with them.  I confess that I can't really see the point of that -- but it's evident that they can't really see the point of what I want, either.  I suppose it's interesting that some local boards evolve one way and others the other way.  Maybe it's true that Candanians are just nicer than people farther south.

Sneakeater, I don't think what you want is such a mystery - even to people north of the 49th!

First of all, I think it is a misconception that the Vancouver Western Canada forum has always been yummy and unctuous - and that that is the only thing you will get from it now. Agreed that a lot of what is posted there now is fluff; however, there are still occasional posts from the old stalwards - and some of the newer kids - who have something to contribute, good or bad. And if you are a consumer looking for guidance, the onus is on you to know whose opinion you can respect and whose, well, you know. Perhaps that is not the way it should be in a perfect world, but that is the way things are over there. You know what, I too wish things were the same as what they were +/- a year ago, but then again, if I really were to try to get what I wanted, I would probably have to start my own board. And that is a lot of work!

Yes the Vancouver Western Canada forum is social. You know, from what I understand, the Chicago Heartland forum is also pretty social. Good God, we share a commonality with Americans - or at least one corner of the American world! (For the sake of those whose sarcasm meter is on the fritz, I was being facetious.) PNW is pretty chummy too. I hope there is a degree of sociality on all the fora, because IMO there is nothing wrong with it.

I find is that the true value of this board, regardless of the original intent, is somewhere in the middle of a "consumer guide" and "social vehicle".

Do you trust the (say) Zagat guide with 100% certainty? Well, if you are like me, you probably read the reviews and then form your own opinion. That's what I do when I read posts on restaurants on eGullet too - except an added benefit of the Gullet is that you can check out a poster's history to see if his/her pattern fits yours.

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If this is too off-topic, I apologize. And if it's of interest to no one but myself, I also apologize.

I hardly trust the Zagat guide at all. To me (and I'm concedely a fairly new poster, although I lurked for a long time), the value of eGullet is that you can assume that people who take the trouble to post here are apt to be more trustworthy -- to have more experience, interest, and expertise -- than the undifferentiated masses of people who are indiscriminately sought for Zagat's contributions. And, as you note, the ability to identify specific reviewers and get to know their preferences, etc., makes it much more valuable.

Having said that, of course you're right about the true value of this board's being somewhere in the middle.

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As someone who has absolutely no dog in this fight (I don't know the restaurant or any of the parties involved, nor will I ever) I would like to offer a perspective of what I expect from a professional restaurant reviewer.  I've lived in places where the reviews were consistently excellent and those in which restaurant reviews were pretty awful.  Ms. Gill's review was in the latter group and here's why.
I'm not a food-industry insider – although in a previous life, I did do time at more than a dozen restaurants on three continents.

Ms. Gill hints at her credentials as a professional restaurant critic. Professional reviewers of food, wine, music or art must be experts in their field. Either they received formal training at an established institution or they had extensive training "in the field." What exactly did she do at these restaurants that establish her credentials and expertise?

By expert, I mean someone who has the practical and academic background and knowledge to understand and appreciate what constitutes excellence in a particular area. But this is not enough and in fact, many excellent reviewers offer this knowlege sparingly in their reviews.

I don’t claim to be a food geek – I write from the view of the average customer; this one having had the good fortune to consume many extraordinary meals in her life.

Professional food and wine writers should be "super-tasters" and geeks in their field. The best food critics have a depth and breadth of knowledge that extend far beyond having had many extraordinary meals. They are passionate about knowing the history of the food and region, and delight in their ability to know what ingredients work best together and why. I know super-tasters who can consistently identify wines in blind tastings and who can identify most ingredients in dishes.

Now, IMO, one of the things that makes a critic great is their ability to also take on the perspective of the average customer and explain to that customer why the food is great or not so great. In other words, to take the customer by the hand and show them "This is why this tuna melt is so superior" and have the average customer say, "I get it." This ability is why I like Antique Road Show so much, and why Julia Child was so popular and why that nun (whose name I forget) who is an art critic is so fantastic.

I have the strong suspicion that my writing voice annoys some people – but it has kept me employed at Canada’s most prestigious national newspaper for almost a decade and did earn me a National Newspaper Award nomination last year (so I’m not going to go changing). 

So, it's the style (writing voice) rather than the substance (her expertise as a food critic) that keeps her employed. (I've only read the one review in question, so I don't know if it is typical of her style.)

Once again we return back to the critic who suggested that a chefs food tasted like CRAP. We have a few interesting food writers in this city who can explain what the food tastes like, and even my favorite (Mr. Morrison) who can do it and get a little edgy but still be informative. Ms. Gill's column in VAN MAG shows how trashy she can be and the cartoon of her in same tells alot.

You hit it on the nail. She is unable to give us the kind of QUALITY writing/critiquing we expect in this city with so much good going on, and ofcourse so much not that great needing to be discussed.

Oh by the way, Mr. Maw, you write for VAN MAG, any thoughts

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Oh by the way, Mr. Maw, you write for VAN MAG, any thoughts

Oh yes indeed. They are neatly summarized in Post # 112, above, which was originally published April 1st.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I could see how old media critics, accustomed to being able to preach from on high without challenge, could find the internet disconcerting: those they criticize now have the ability to respond. The urge to portray new media as frivolous and petty must be strong.

For their part, I hope the folks in the Vancouver contingent are now seeing how their clubbiness can erode their credibility. More objectivity and fewer agendas would go a long way towards righting that balance.

Here's an interesting comparison of so-called 'old media' versus 'new'. The two quotations below are from the same author and, ironically, also champion chef Fowke in an earlier incarnation, when he was executive chef at Joe Fortes, a high volume seafood house in Vancouver's West End. Perhaps no one is immune to his puppy dog charms . . .

The National Post   August 18, 2001     "Joe Fortes represented a turning point in my thinking about Vancouver precisely because it's not a top-tier fine-dining establishment. After all, almost any city can support a few good restaurants based on tourist dollars. The acid test of excellence is when quality penetrates the second tier -- when the local hangouts serve the best.

So impressed was I by Joe Fortes, that I took the unusual step of asking the restaurant's young chef, Brian Fowke, to take me fish shopping . . ."

This next quote might illustrate the slightly looser and, ahem, if not frivolous and petty, certainly more provocative style of 'new media'. I've highlighted a couple of the more germane passages:

May 24 2003, 08:35 AM

The fact of the matter is that at many, many restaurants (if not most) there are distinct levels of experience available to customers, sometimes ranging from "superlative" to "totally sucks." There are three choices when dealing with such a restaurant, in other words when dealing with most restaurants: 1) Refuse to dine out, in solidarity with the oppressed; 2) Dine out, have "totally sucks" meals, and complain bitterly about it; or 3) Do something about it.

I hope everybody realizes that Ellen is trying to explain option number 3 in all her restaurant reports, and that much of the talk on eGullet is about exactly that: getting the best possible meal out of any given restaurant. Newspaper restaurant reviews, which target a mass audience, are written by anonymous (supposedly) critics and try to capture the consumer-protection angle of things: "This is the shitty meal I got when they didn't know who I was! Then I went back and they recognized me and gave me a great meal! How awful!" Well, maybe it is awful, but the thing is, here on eGullet we're not a mass audience. We're the people who are going to take the trouble to learn things like what to order at Joe Fortes in order to get a great meal, how to call ahead to arrange it with Brian Fowke, and who gives a damn what the tall leggy blondes (which, by the way, Ellen is, despite her pretense otherwise; strawberry even) and their fat-cat date-bait are eating down in the well? They don't give a damn about food anyway. We'll be up on the roof deck enjoying the best seafood the Pacific Northwest has to offer, because we know the secret code word.

And I'm by no means agreeing that Joe Fortes sucks unless you get special treatment. Under the Fowke regime, I can pretty much guarantee you that if you just order intelligently, you'll do very well. For example, if you go sit at the oyster bar and have a bunch of oysters, you will have fabulous oysters. Period. They are oyster geniuses. They know how to purchase the best. They have great relationships with suppliers. They preserve the liquid, which most places screw up. And their shuckers are the best, especially "Oyster Bud" who wins almost every oyster-shucking competition.

I think a lot of this animosity towards Joe Fortes has got to come from the old days before Brian and Bud got together and decided to make it a good restaurant. Not that Rome was built in a day, but Joe's has recently picked up the big Vancouver Magazine and Where Magazine "best seafood" awards (both in 2002, according to the Joe Fortes site), and has also held down a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for something like 11 years (the wine program has always been great). Of course those awards can be won by crap restaurants too -- look at the success of "C" -- but people are liking Joe Fortes for sure. And since that squares with my own experience and that of the friends we've referred there, I'm quite sure I'm not hallucinating. I mean, sure, you can serve unsophisticated food and get the occasional award, but you can't rise to the top of the heap by offering "cold, uninteresting food, dirty cutlery and poor service every time."

Sorry for the interruption.

The balance of the thread is here.

Of course both of these excerpts were written by you, Steven. In your theme of 'getting the best possible meal out of any given restaurant', perhaps some of the local eGullet members simply took your advice and did exactly that. Can you fault them?

For the record though, in 2002, Joe Fortes placed 9th in the Vancouver magazine Restaurant Awards 'Best Seafood' category.

Although I've only attended a couple of Vancouver eGullet events (the Bourdain Dinner, which raised funds for The Chefs' Table Society of BC, and the Sustainabilty Luncheon that was decidedly informational), I'll respectfully tell you that my fellow forum members have loads of objectivity and credibility - much of it hard won here - but scant agenda.

Other than to learn and make fair comment that is.

As a leggy blonde, I also take offense re your cheap shot that we might gain preferential treatment in certain precincts. :biggrin:

Jamie

[Post Script: I should add add that it was C Restaurant (see 'crap', above, a word also used indelicately by Ms. Gill I believe to describe another establishment), that hosted the Sustainability Luncheon. In the opinion of those who might lack credibility, it was an informative, delicious and challenging afternoon.]

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I don't know if this has occurred to any of you.....

But the reason this thread was started was because of a certain reviewer taking pot shots at the Vancouver Forum eGulleters.

It just occurred to me that MAYBE, just MAYBE it might be because a thread popped up on the Vancouver forum in NOVEMBER that has been criticizing everything from that reviewer's spelling to her writing style, to her competency on most of her reviews since then. Public Pot Shots? Yes.

Does she have the right to take pot shots back....why not. Did she use the right outlet? Perhaps not, but it's the one that she's familiar with.

Vitriol bespeaks vitriol.

Don't cast stones when you live in a glass house. Or in other words, don't dish it out if you can't take it.

I'm not defending the woman. I don't read her reviews, and have only heard about them.....just giving some insight as to why this particular bit of vitriol may have occurred.

just my $.02

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I don't know if this has occurred to any of you.....

But the reason this thread was started was because of a certain reviewer taking pot shots at the Vancouver Forum eGulleters.

It just occurred to me that MAYBE, just MAYBE it might be because a thread popped up on the Vancouver forum in NOVEMBER that has been criticizing everything from that reviewer's spelling to her writing style, to her competency on most of her reviews since then.  Public Pot Shots?  Yes.

Does she have the right to take pot shots back....why not.  Did she use the right outlet?  Perhaps not, but it's the one that she's familiar with.

Vitriol bespeaks vitriol.

Don't cast stones when you live in a glass house.  Or in other words, don't dish it out if you can't take it.

I'm not defending the woman.  I don't read her reviews, and have only heard about them.....just giving some insight as to why this particular bit of vitriol may have occurred.

just my $.02

I think most people are aware of that.

She has been lambasted because most of her reviews are as ill considered as this one. To clarify, most people are not so much angry that she attacked eG as that Rare suffered as a result If you read this thread you will find that most of us are aware of the negative sentiment on our thread of A. Gill. You are missing the point- or at least my point.

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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I don't know if this has occurred to any of you.....

But the reason this thread was started was because of a certain reviewer taking pot shots at the Vancouver Forum eGulleters.

Actually, that is false. If you go back to the opening thread (which, ahem, I started :cool: ), you'll see that this thread was started because I was interested to hear from egulleters how they feel about giving negatvie feedback, and why a certain board has become like a great "love-in." It actaully had very little to do with Ms. Gill. This thread has gone off-topic many times, becoming a forum discussing Ms. Gill's writing style. That is not what it was started for. I wanted to hear from people about how they felt, not how they feel about someones writing style.

I know that in certain ways, the two are connected. It was just not my intention to start a thread discussing a critics style (although it has been intersting at times :laugh:).

edited because damn, it doesn't matter how many times I check my post, there are always more errors to be found!!

Edited by winegeek (log)

Derek

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A tale of enthusiasm and climate change....

Jamie: Of course both of these excerpts were written by you, Steven. In your theme of 'getting the best possible meal out of any given restaurant', perhaps some of the local eGullet members simply took your advice and did exactly that. Can you fault them?
Shaw: They don't give a damn about food anyway. We'll be up on the roof deck enjoying the best seafood the Pacific Northwest has to offer, because we know the secret code word.

well told. Perhaps it is time to cast the decoder ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

edited due to a late night and the absence of coffee.

Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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If you go back to the opening thread (which, ahem, I stared  :cool: ), you'll see that this thread was started because I was interested to hear from egulleters how they feel about giving negatvie feedback, and why a certain board has become like a great "love-in."

Hopefully not through rose-coloured glasses, Derek. :biggrin: I trust that you perceive my post upthread as having brought this topic squarely back on track.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I don't know if this has occurred to any of you.....

But the reason this thread was started was because of a certain reviewer taking pot shots at the Vancouver Forum eGulleters.

Actually, that is false. If you go back to the opening thread (which, ahem, I stared :cool: ), you'll see that this thread was started because I was interested to hear from egulleters how they feel about giving negatvie feedback, and why a certain board has become like a great "love-in." It actaully had very little to do with Ms. Gill. This thread has gone off-topic many times, becoming a forum discussing Ms. Gill's writing style. That is not what it was started for. I wanted to hear from people about how they felt, not how they feel about someones writing style.

I know that in certain ways, the two are connected. It was just not my intention to start a thread discussing a critics style (although it has been intersting at times :laugh:).

And to add to that, it would appear that my establishment, ahem, was the culprit.

We seemed to have discussed, resolved and moved on within post one and two ( exagerating for fun )

It would appear that a former cook with a taste for salted cooking brandy and an over inflated sense of self importance was to blame, but ultimatly, the buck stops here.

Good stuff, though,

I love you guys and your ability to recall posts that are years old and pop them up for all to see.

Off for lunch with the slightly older, Chef Fowke.

Edited by nwyles (log)

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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I don't know if this has occurred to any of you.....

But the reason this thread was started was because of a certain reviewer taking pot shots at the Vancouver Forum eGulleters.

It just occurred to me that MAYBE, just MAYBE it might be because a thread popped up on the Vancouver forum in NOVEMBER that has been criticizing everything from that reviewer's spelling to her writing style, to her competency on most of her reviews since then.  Public Pot Shots?  Yes.

Does she have the right to take pot shots back....why not.  Did she use the right outlet?  Perhaps not, but it's the one that she's familiar with.

Vitriol bespeaks vitriol.

Don't cast stones when you live in a glass house.  Or in other words, don't dish it out if you can't take it.

I'm not defending the woman.  I don't read her reviews, and have only heard about them.....just giving some insight as to why this particular bit of vitriol may have occurred.

just my $.02

I think most people are aware of that.

She has been lambasted because most of her reviews are as ill considered as this one. To clarify, most people are not so much angry that she attacked eG as that Rare suffered as a result If you read this thread you will find that most of us are aware of the negative sentiment on our thread of A. Gill. You are missing the point- or at least my point.

Has RARE

SUFFERED as a result? Please Andrew, don't be melodramatic. I think that some people in the Vancouver forum ARE angry that she attacked fellow eGulleters including Brian Fowke and want to know why she did it and what it has to do with her review.

QUOTE(Daddy-A @ Apr 2 2006, 11:45 AM)

On another issue (Gill's review of Rare) I have no issue with her review of the restaurant.  But IMO she crossed the line BIG TIME by attacking members here who had NOTHING to do with her meal. /QUOTE

Thanks for that.

As one of the EG members targeted in her review, all I can say is that I'm really upset at the way I was portrayed.

[snip]

There are a lot of people who are similarly upset by her characterization of me, and letters are being sent to the editor.

This is my beef with your review ... I'm still waiting for a reason why eGullet (ling, Zuke, et al) were dragged into this.

Is that plain enough? I just thought I'd add a little enlightenment.

To answer the post after yours:

After reading Alexandra Gill's review of Rare (Vancouver, BC)HERE
This thread was started because in your review of Rare you questioned the ability of eGullet members to post negative reviews, in particular in the Vancouver/Western Canada Forum. winegeek wanted to discuss that idea further. Your review may have been the catalyst Ms. Gill, but it ain't the subject.

Yes, this thread was started because of the said review. Should it be about the review? No. Was it intended to be? No. But yes, that has snuck in here.

As for my opinion of whether the Vancouver forum is a "BIG LOVE IN".... There ARE some critical voices out there, but they do not post often. Are people afraid to say too much? Yes. Especially after the Irish Heather Thread. (I arrived on eG just as this thread happened, so i don't have a frame of reference as to the tone before this....but i do remember some of the comments at the time stating that they would be more careful after that...) I have been told by some of the more critical voices around town that they can't read the Vancouver forum anymore because they do think that "No one is brave enough to say something negative!"

As a Chef in Vancouver, I prefer to stay anonymous on this board. My restaurant has been LAMBASTED more than once by numerous people inside and outside the Vancouver Forum. It has also received accolades. Restaurants do have bad nights and good nights, but I want to know about them in MY place of employment even on my days off and on my holidays. I remain anonymous to MOST of the members so that barometer is reflected fairly. I do not want to scare people into thinking that they can not say something bad about my place of employment because they know that I post here. I would rather use the criticism as a reason to review menu ideas and improving training of the staff.

As for my own perspective on other restaurants: Because I am a Chef....I AM VERY CRITICAL about every aspect of the places that I dine at. My husband sometimes hates dining with me. I have dined at places that were highly touted on eG's Vancouver forum, and thought: "What were they THINKING?!!" In these cases, I have wrote to management of said restaurants and let them know that they slipped up majorly. I have not returned to some and will return to others to give a second chance. But I will not post comments until I give a place a fair shake....Meaning that I have dined there more than a few times. Therefore, I don't review much. I don't get out much. I'm too busy. If people ask me personally what I think about a place, I will tell them, but as a chef I feel that it is irresponsible of me to criticize other restaurants publicly because I AM hyper critical. People will say: "Ohhh...She's just being catty!" Sounds like ALEX GILL.....

Anyway this has taken a long time, and I must get on with my day.

Cheers!

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