We are writing this letter to the editor with some thoughts regarding our recent review. (“Dining Out: il Giallo,” Reporter Newspapers, July 8-22.) We felt compelled to speak out on our guests’ behalf as well as give voice to what many restaurateurs think and never have the chance to say.
First, we have a loyal following, as do all successful restaurants, yet the reviewer’s comments infer that they all must be witless fools that only come in because of a TV show that aired five years ago. Our guests frequent our restaurants because we serve them food that they enjoy and we have spent months and years cultivating relationships with them; but that is not a sexy topic for food critics.
Secondly, food critics do not behave as our guests. We are human. A cook may over-salt something, a server may get an order wrong, or the chef just had a lousy idea. A paying guest, unlike the critic whose meal is paid for, brings these to our attention and we fix them. That’s how we develop relationships and how we define who we are. Food critics gleefully report any misstep and never raise their hands. It is much easier to craft a snarky commentary than interact with servers, managers or owners.
Lastly, food critics are very disconnected with what is at stake for small business owners; personal guarantees for bank loans, vendor debt, payroll (we employ 50 people) and all of the other responsibilities do not make for an engaging review. Somehow this culture has evolved into the fact that writing a nasty review represents notoriety and fame for the critic.
We propose that in the future, “critics” have some culinary experience on which they base their reviews, and they leave subjectivity, personal tastes and the goal of creating fame for themselves out of the picture. On the flip side, we always welcome valuable feedback from seasoned food writers.
— Jamie Adams, chef and co-owner, il Giallo