Should a restaurant reviewer state when he is provided free meals by the restaurant he is reviewing?
Nancy Rommelmann seems to have been three weeks ahead when she wrote about how a restaurant like Olea gets named “One of the best new restaurants in the US”. From Johnathan Nicolas column in the Oregonian today:
“…This week the Los Angeles Times weighed in: “When Portland, Ore., publicist Lisa Hill heard that Mariani was traveling to Oregon last July, she invited him to join her for dinner. ‘I like meeting food writers and building relationships, and he’s been everywhere,’ Hill said. ‘He’s a great name, he’s eaten at all the great restaurants. I just thought I could tell him about what’s going on in Portland.’ ”
The story concludes: “Hill, her husband and Mariani dined at Portland’s Olea, one of Hill’s clients, a meal for which no one was charged. Olea made the Esquire list — a high honor to bestow based on a single meal.”
Read the whole article here at Jonathan Nicholas Column. I don’t think publicist Lisa Hill is having a very good day.
I am just finishing up my review of Olea, but have to say it hasn’t changed much from my original thoughts, when it first opened. Sometimes I wonder if people like a restaurant because they read they are supposed to, and want to be part of the in-crowd. Note: 2008 – Olea is now closed.
From the LA Times:
What you won’t see is a disclaimer about which meals Mariani ate for free, and at the personal invitation of the chefs — omissions that have exposed a deep divide in food writing circles over the ethics of restaurant reviewing.
The Times article is worth taking the time to read. It talks a lot about the ethics of reviewing. You can see it here.