Restaurant critic Grace Dent of the London Evening Standard commented in ES Magazine July 25th that she cannot return to some restaurants, usually due to
“issues surrounding speaking the truth”
The chefs and front of house managers that object to Grace Dent’s criticisms usually know how they are performing but do not wish us to know and that is the problem.
We all want critical reviews as consumers. We want the great differentiated from the indifferent, the second rate. We will pay more for greatness when we can. If not, we can still stand back and admire and enjoy reading about those who can perform to a yet higher standard whether in sport, cuisine or designing for higher audio sound quality.
Constantly chipping away at independent critical journalism are the advertising and magazine managers, the PR executives, who desire, even demand, fawningly positive reviews for the products and services we buy. Often reviews which are truly advertorials are disguised, purporting to be independent opinion, but are commercial paid for copy. Many are available on the web, purporting to be independent of commercial interests.
It does not help that journalism is poorly paid with many journos scraping a living and having to make do with almost any writing commission, sometimes hack advertorial. Where a review should include a significant investigation, with tests of operation and sound quality, if the job is done well it may preclude future commissions for the journalist as loan product options mysteriously dry up for the author.
At HIFICRITIC we expressly encourage our writers to freely describe their critical findings, but remain aware that powerful commercial interests remain looming over us.