Publishers Weekly has an interview with outgoing Times critic Frank Bruni today (his last review drops August 19) in anticipation of the August 20 release of his memoir, Born Round. In the book he reveals, among other things, that he's battled bulimia for many years. Here's an excerpt from the PW story:
PW: Why tell [your story] now?
FB: One of the editors who actually offered me the job had met me when I was at my heaviest. Later on, I repeatedly heard the comment, “Gee, I expected you to be a little fatter. You must be one of those people who never had a weight problem.” These were people who didn’t know me as anything but a restaurant critic and didn’t know anything about my struggles.
But what's far more interesting about this article is that a current photo of Bruni runs alongside it.
Indeed, the reviewer who may come to be regarded as the last rigorously anonymous critic in the business — the extent to which he went undetected successfully would be a separate discussion — has revealed himself. Although three of his reviews are still set to run, this may very well signal that he's finished with his review meals. While he would not confirm or deny this idea when we asked this afternoon, in our time knowing and observing him, Bruni has been extremely calculating and careful about broadcasting his whereabouts. It is almost inconceivable that he would allow a photo of himself to be published, the man unmasked at the eleventh hour, unless he'd concluded eating in his official capacity of restaurant critic — and just wanted to spend another week or two torturing newbie restaurants for fun. So while you may not want to let your guard down fully just yet, chefs, you can probably exhale: Frankie Boom Boom is finished with you.