Australia’s Kelly Ramsay and Chloe James, the embattled Sunday Times restaurant critics, can now add “former” to their titles. The paper fired them yesterday after the duo admitted portions of a review published this past weekend weren’t exactly on the up-and-up. Titled “Hipster Deli Should Stick to Brekkie,” it gave a restaurant in Perth called West End Deli nine out of 20 points (“consider takeaway pizza instead”), and as a sort of coup de grâce, ended with James supposedly saying on their way out the door: “Shall we head to the Leedi for dinner, take two?” After West End posted a long Facebook rebuttal calling the review a “fabrication,” it came out that their review was based on a meal Ramsay ate several months prior, and that she even left without paying the bill.
The duo disputed several things in West End’s account and offered multiple excuses, like that Ramsay hadn’t paid because she didn’t have the work credit card on her, but none of that was going to smooth over the biggest problems, most notably the fabricated James quote. The paper says it’s launched a “full and fair” investigation of the incident. Ramsay and James, meanwhile, appear to have deactivated their Facebook page, possibly because they said they were receiving taunts and death threats.
Here’s the full statement released by the paper’s editor:
The Sunday Times has clear editorial standards which demand accuracy and transparency. Regrettably a recent food review by Chloe James and Kelly Ramsay did not meet those standards, so we will no longer be using them as contributors to our publications. We will not be commenting further on this matter.
The Sunday Times and PerthNow