There have been a lot of interesting articles over the past year about the clash between food bloggers, restaurateurs and critics. I think I linked to a New York Magazine back-and-forth between Batali and Bourdain a few months ago:
Batali: It’s amazing, these fucking Websites, these blogs. [Otto co-owner] Jason Denton hasn’t even thought about this pizza restaurant that isn’t even a pizza restaurant across the street from Otto, and he’s getting quoted. I call him and say, “Lips. What are you doing?” and he’s like “I want to tell you, I’m never planning on opening a pizza restaurant … I don’t know what happened on the blog this morning.” Whatever the blog heard is now fact.
Bourdain: I think it’s great. They’ve beaten down the wall, and everybody’s invited to write whatever shit they want about you. It’s democratic.
Batali: I’m not so much about these blogs by anonymous people saying nasty things about you. I think it’s getting pretty stupid. If there’s something interesting, and there’s somebody editing it and taking care of it, I’m down with it. But some of those people are just bit with vituperative anger and just want to rail on you.
Bourdain: It’s inevitable, it’s the tide, there’ s no fighting it. There’s a bunch of these guys that are like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, whipping out their fucking little cameras, and five minutes after one of them says it’s the greatest, the next will say that’s so last week. That’s inevitable. I go to all those sites and enjoy them, especially when they’re about people I don’t like.
Batali: Well, I don’t like them.
If you haven’t read the article, click here to see the whole interview. It’s a fun site to read.
Now Batali has done an article over on Eater called “Why I Hate Food Bloggers”. (4.11 – the link’s dead now)
…blogs live by different rules. Many of the anonymous authors who vent on blogs rant their snarky vituperatives from behind the smoky curtain of the web. This allows them a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seems to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. Unfortunately, this also allows untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact. Even a savvy blog like the one you are reading now has strangely superseded truly responsible journalism. It is much more immediate and can skip a lot of the ponderous setup necessary in a news article. It cuts right to the heart of a matter, often disputing it as though real research has taken place.
He may not like it, but every time I turn around I’m getting contacted by another food website wanting my opinion, or announcing their presence. New ones are popping up like crazy. The internet is changing everything, and love them or not, Batali had better except that food blogs are here to stay.