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Thanks to Predecessor’s Plagiarism, Richmond Newspaper’s New Food Critic Will Have to Re-Review 22 Restaurants

Hope you're hungry! Image by SvetaVo; via iStock.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has hired a new food critic, Executive Editor Paige Mudd told readers in a note Tuesday evening. Without naming him, she writes, “He’s local, he’s a great writer, he’s very knowledgeable about the industry and he’s passionate about food.”

That better be the case, because whoever this is has a daunting opening assignment: He’ll re-review all 22 restaurants his predecessor, Elliott Shaffner, put under the microscope, Mudd says.

The duplication comes thanks to Shaffner’s wide-ranging plagiarism, which infected her Times-Dispatch reviews with phrases from the Pulitzer-winning critic Jonathan Gold.

By email, Mudd tells Washingtonian the newspaper’s critics usually visit a restaurant twice before reviewing. That’s a lot of make-up meals for the new guy to get through!

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.