News & Politics

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!

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.