Totally baller Boston food writer MC Slim JB is such a mysterious figure, he can’t even let me hear his voice. I can only imagine what defining vocal characteristic this would give away – maybe a telltale Irish brogue or rarefied and damning Eton-bred lilt. Anyway, I figured he would be an interesting interview for STUFF magazine where I intern. And he was!
Seriously guys, food writing is no joke. I’m not going to pretend I would prefer to make financial powerpoints until my fingers bleed or give spongebaths to convicted pedophiles or anything, but this is not all eating fancy meals, scribbling down a few pompous notes, and calling it a day. You spend a lot of your time working with people’s schedules and RSVPs, eating even when you’re stuffed, suffering through terrible meals as well as the great ones, and dealing with obnoxious dining partners who feel the need to loudly announce to the waiter that you’re doing a review as you try to become the same color as the drapery.
Also, the calories. We’re talking about some hardcore cardio to blast off that lukewarm samosa served up with major waiter attitude. Who cares that it was comped when it shows up on your waistline? Getting fat knows no professional boundaries!
MC Slim JB, I applaud you.
Many high–profile restaurant critics are spotted no matter how hard they try to disguise themselves or make up pseudonyms. They argue that the restaurant can’t really change its quality on the fly. If this is true, why bother with the anonymity?
I think serious professionals should at least try to maintain their anonymity. There’s still plenty a restaurant can do to make a VIP’s meal better than the typical diner walking in off the street: the choicest cuts of meat, the most select produce, the most meticulous plating, the shortest time from the pass to the table, the most carefully made drinks, the most exacting wine service, the most attentive table service. “The biggest berries,” is how [former New York Times critic Ruth] Reichl puts it — she had a plate literally snatched from under her nose when the restaurant realized mid-meal who she was; it was returned a moment later with nicer fruit on it. A lot of little things like this can add up to a significantly more impressive overall dining experience: not a fair impression of what the typical diner gets.