The Washingtonian’s Todd Kliman discusses the latest brouhaha involving him and the “Don’t Believe The Washingtonian” campaign underway.
Todd, Any comment on Roberto Donna’s launching a blog in response to your review of his restaurant or the criticisms he seems to be levyying at you?
For those who may not have been following along:
There have been two incidents in the past month, here and in New York, where chefs have responded to valid criticism by starting blogs or waging campaigns against magazines or reviewers.
Criticism is valid. It matters. It documents the way we live. It’s intellectually honest.
Without good, serious-minded, candid criticism to uphold high standards, a scene doesn’t improve. Without that kind of criticism, there is no vibrancy.
Critics don’t simply sit around in a room and make judgments about who to like and who not to like. There’s a process, a gathering of many dozens of details — the same for writing about restaurants as about books and film and theater and art, etc. In restaurant reviewing, the critic makes not one but several visits to a place (usually a minimum of three visits, sometimes as many as four or five) before writing a long review– on different days, at different meals, with different people — to assess an experience more accurately.
If there are minor inaccuracies that need to be corrected — and inaccuracies do crop up, as in any creative endeavor — they will be corrected. A review isn’t a tombstone; a place can improve, and sometimes does. But done right, that review is an honest document of the dining experience.