Ruth Reichl, former editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine, former food critic at the NY Times, and author of several popular books, has given a very honest interview to Fashion Week Daily. (This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not a fashion plate – someone forwarded me the link.)
We’re guessing you’re not a big Yelper.
Anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.
What about Zagat?
I’ve always hated Zagat. If I’m going to listen to someone else’s opinions on restaurants, I don’t care if I agree or not. I just want to know who they are. If you follow critics, you know whether they’re Francophiles, or if they like a lot of spice. I know what [Times critic] Pete Wells’s biases are. We mostly agree. He’s not a snob, which is rare among critics. He loves food and has been brave with his reviews.
As to what it was like working at Condé Nast,
How excessive was it?
A car, hair, and makeup every morning at your house if you wanted it. When I traveled, I wouldn’t even know where I was going. My secretary would tell my driver which airport to take me to, and then she would hand me a folder with my itinerary. I knew I was a visitor in that world, though—I wasn’t going to be in it for the rest of my life. I didn’t know money like that even existed before arriving at Condé Nast! It’s not real life, in some important way. People gave each other lavish gifts. If somebody retired at Condé Nast in those days, your secretary would go buy a $500 gift. Some editors at Condé Nast have never been on the subway—they’d take a car to go two blocks! I’ve stayed in touch with my wonderful driver, Mustafa. We still meet for coffee. It was fun, but I didn’t want my nine-year-old son to think everybody had a driver to take him to camp.