Restos hunger for rave reviews
So many restaurants want to make it big in the culinary world that food critics and bloggers have become prized and “much-sought-after” influencers on the cooking and dining scene.
Cognizant of this “trending” development, the Cooking Channel has come up with the new “vetting” show, “Million Dollar Critic,” with Times of London food and restaurant reviewer Giles Coren doing the food-tasting honors.
Is a rave review really worth a million bucks for a dining place that’s been given top marks by a traveling taster like Coren?
Conversely, does a stinking-bad review cost a dissed restaurant mucho, molto money in lost revenue and cancelled reservations?
Veterans of the resto roundelay and rigmarole say—definitely yes. In fact, some up the ante to $1.2 million, plus or minus, depending on whether Cohen’s conclusion is a rave or raspberry.
The telecast of “Million Dollar Critic” we viewed recently had Cohen flying off to Ottawa in Canada, where he spent the whole day and night sampling the gustatory offerings at five establishments, each unique in look, cuisine specialization and target markets from each other. What a hardworking guy—and his stomach must be exceptionally sturdy, too!
The first restaurant specialized in Asian noodle dishes, offering unexpected warmth, comfort and meditative respite from the madding business throng in the Canadian metro.
Coren appreciated the freshness of the ingredients, but gave minus points to a follow-up dish that featured a less than perfectly fresh fish.
Early in the show, Coren served testy notice that the dining places he would be visiting had to be on their tippy-toes to earn his winning rave review!
Other restos won and lost points on a number of vetting factors, so it was pretty much touch-and-go as far as what his final decision would be.
Among the establishments that failed to measure up to the food critic’s high standards was a rather greasy place that also served up the most creative dishes in town.
But, it still failed to make the winning grade because Coren was turned off by the two resident chefs’ penchant for tippling and guzzling and getting roaring drunk while they were whipping up their culinary masterpieces.
Other no-nos that were cited in the course of the show included resto owners and chefs who “hovered” over the critic as he chewed away, distracting him from the tasty task at hand.
Let your food speak for itself, he urged—a word to the wise for other chefs and managers who try too hard to make a great impression.
As for the winning restaurant, it turned out to be a soup place that had a bevy of very warm, cheerful and beautiful women running the place—and the soups and tartar steaks they served were pretty yummy, too!