The Opinions Of Critics

The nice thing about being a restaurant critic is that it usually doesn’t matter what your politics are. You don’t have to studiously separate your opinion from the facts, as you would if you were, say, a city hall reporter, because it’s your job to offer an opinion, and and politics usually has nothing to do with it.

That’s why it’s been interesting to see Michael Bauer deal with the real-life merging of food and politics in the form of Proposition 2 on tomorrow’s ballot. First, he wrote in support of the measure. Perhaps, though, he got a little heat for directly offering an opinion? Whatever the reason, Bauer seems to have felt that his position needed a bit of shoring up, and this morning ran a piece clarifying his thoughts on his job and his politics:

To do the job properly, I have to check my attitude at the door and try to concentrate just on what’s on the plate. Last week, for example, I wrote about Prop 2 on my blog. If I politicized my job, I’d trash any restaurant that used cage-raised meat. I’m not going to do that; when I evaluate a restaurant, I concentrate solely on the experience.

As a critic you have to know your preferences, examine them carefully, and then put them aside so they don’t influence the review. It may come across at times that I’m having a bad day, but if you look at the criticism, it’s the restaurant that’s having a bad day.

Okay, then. It’s good that Bauer does this and not every citizen-reviewer on sites like this one and Yelp. Whatever would we do for entertainment if that happened?

Do critics have bad days? [Between Meals]
My view on Prop 2 [Between Meals]

[Photo: Via Orin Optiglot/flickr]


The Opinions Of Critics