Good Food Blog
Critical conditionsPosted at 11:42AM, 25 July 2008 by Graham Holliday - Blogger
Take one hyper-opinionated food writer, one sub-editor and a deleted indefinite article and what do you have? One enraged hyper-opinionated writer, a cowering sub-editor and an atomic email that lays waste to an entire editorial team.
Giles Coren, food critic for The Times, took umbrage when one small change was made to the final sentence of a review of his.
In his letter to the editorial team of The Times, he says: "I wrote: 'I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh.'
It appeared as: 'I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh'."
Have food bloggers and Internet critics already taken over from the professional?
That's one of the few repeatable bits, the email goes on to deteriorate in spectacularly humourous fashion - if you're expletive intolerant tread carefully. In among Coren's steaming rant, his passion for food and for his work comes through - at ear splitting volume. But is it nothing more than the final squeal of a dying breed? Have food bloggers and Internet critics already taken over from the professional?
This is the question Jay Rayner asks on The Guardian Arts blog and in a long feature for The Observer. Rayner notes the death of the newspaper critic in the USA. "At least those of us in Britain who make our living from our opinions are still gainfully employed. Across America it's a different story. Paid newspaper critics from a number of disciplines are being laid off or redeployed, their judgment deemed superfluous to requirements in the age of the net."
He talks to bloggers and critics alike about the future of the professional critics. Some savvy newspapers are already handing over a lot of the traditional critic's work to expert bloggers and allowing for a free for all in the discussion sections of their websites. With sinking advertising revenues and decreased print sales, yet little in the way of online revenue, the first victims of the cashflow crisis will be the luxury items. And critics have always been a luxury.
There is a future for the very best professional food critics, but those that do manage to keep their jobs will have to learn they can't work in isolation anymore. The Internet is not a place to dictate opinion. It's an interactive and reactive medium and it's louder and more influential than a hundred hair pulling emails from Giles Coren.