Chicago Dining Critic Watchlist Causing A Stir Online

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Mar 17, 2014 9:15PM

Chicago Tribune writer Kevin Pang apparently found this list in the kitchen of a "prominent Chicago restaurant" that is making the social media rounds today. It tells kitchen workers how to identify food critics and specific critics to watch out for.

Unfortunately for this kitchen, the list isn't totally accurate. Jeff Ruby ended his tenure as Chicago magazine dining critic last year. (Ed. Note: Ruby still reviews restaurants for Chicago; he resigned as an editor at the magazine. —CS) Frank Bruni hasn't been a dining critic since 2009.

As for the tip that Michelin guide inspectors have to eat all of their food, it appears to come from a 2009 New Yorker article. Jeff Ruby quipped on Twitter that "I always thought that was one of those urban legends that the Michelin people perpetuated to keep restaurants off their trail."

It warns that "single diners" are more likely to be food critics, media and bloggers. They may be subject to special treatment to ensure a "consistent dining experience." Perhaps that's one upside of being alone. Or maybe it's bad, since the relationship between restaurants and food writers can be ambivalent or even hostile. A recent Vice article claimed that "chefs hate all food writers." One of the reasons? "You have to be nice to them."