Will the Next Times Critic Be So Anonymous?

From left, Laurent Tourondel, Daniel Boulud, critic John Curtas, Hubert Keller, Guy Savoy. Photo: Daniel Boulud

As the Times announced yesterday, Frank Bruni’s reign as head critic there will end in late August, timed to the publication of his memoir. In the interim four months, the parlor game du jour is coming up with possible replacements for him. Names already making the rounds include in-house Times writers like Oliver Schwanner-Albright; crowd favorites like our own Adam Platt and $25 and Under scribe Peter Meehan; wild cards like David Kamp; and, here are two more, Christine Muhlke (T Magazine) or Charlotte Druckman, once of Food & Wine. One of the most difficult issues the Times faces is deciding how anonymous this critic has to be. Even Bruni, as ubiquitous as he is, is still able to sneak into restaurants without being made. But how necessary is this for a future critic? For example, and for the sake of discussion, here’s a photo with four of the most important chefs in Las Vegas throwing the biggest critic in town into a pool. Daniel Boulud explains: “During Bon Appetit‘s Uncork’d event at Caesars Palace, a couple of famous French chefs were tossing up the notorious Las Vegas food critic John Curtas. He almost ended up in the pool!!”