Following our popular story on unethical travel writing (see story here) we have this timely advice from the highly respected Alison Bing from Lonely Planet.
Don’t act like a food critic
At New York’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, I observed a food blogger photographing dishes, taking notes at the table and loudly drawing comparisons to dishes by other chefs. This is a rookie mistake, guaranteeing a strained dining experience for everyone involved. Staff hover over your shoulders, with shaky hands and false cheer – forget getting a straight answer about which dishes are better than others. Dinner conversation is peppered with interruptions, introductions and quasi-interviews, and over-salted with interrogations about why you didn’t finish your garnish … or maybe that’s just the nervous chef, sweating into your food. Reviewing restaurants anonymously for Lonely Planet ensures I get treated like any other customer, which means I occasionally get hot dishes served cold, microwaved until molten or deep-fried twice (ouch) – but it sure beats the awkward alternative. And when that freshly baked moment of joy arrives on a platter, it’s a sincere expression of the cooks’ talent, the farmers’ diligence, your hosts’ generosity and a shared love of food that gathers us around tables, around the world.