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Chefs Tell All: What They Think of Critics

For our January issue, we asked 24 chefs to give their candid—and anonymous—opinions on overrated colleagues, underappreciated restaurants, embarrassing ingredients, and nightmare customers. We’re posting the results throughout the month. Up today: how ch

What's your take on food bloggers?

“What they need to start doing is to stop calling them 'reviews.' One person gave a review of my place on Don Rockwell. We were serving foie gras, and the person said they didn’t 'get it' because they’d only had cold foie gras. I don’t think you’re qualified to write a review if you’ve never had hot foie gras before.”

“Some people go off on things that are really immaterial. Like, that lady back there managing six burners and two fryers—why doesn’t she smile when I look at her? Does Eli Manning get the ball from the center, turn around before he makes a throw, and smile at you?”

“The only ones restaurants should be reading are on OpenTable, because they’re real guests and it’s a teaching tool for the staff.”

On Yelpers?

“There are two kinds of Yelpers in the world: the Yelpers that are really into food and the kind that are really into brunch.”

“My focus is all about the food, so it cuts me deeply when someone says my food is 'meh.' Say something besides 'meh.' ”

“If you’re not comfortable enough to take some hits, you shouldn’t be in this business.”

"The most horrendous Web site on earth."

On food critics?

“I think there should be a term limit, and critics should transfer or be made to retire after four to five years.”

“They’re like police: We need them, but I feel better when they’re not around.”

“I don’t think it’s fair when critics come opening night to compete with the bloggers, so their story isn’t old news.” 

Related:

Critics' Picks: The Year's Top 40 Dishes

Food In 2011: What's Hot and Cold on Washington Plates 

This article appears in the January issue of The Washingtonian. 

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