William Grimes Says if You “Scratch a Snooty Food Critic” You’ll Find an “Ordinary Human”


Following the efforts of The New York Times‘ public editor and dining editor to assure readers that the paper is democratic in its choices of restaurants to review, former Times restaurant critic William Grimes has added his proverbial two cents to the conversation.

Writing yesterday evening, Grimes, who was the paper’s critic for five years, points out that objections to a critic’s dining budget “do not seem to hound” book, theater, or music critics:

“The Met is very expensive, yet we cover all Met productions without any sense of guilt. Yankees tickets are expensive, but we do not balance out the coverage by reporting on fewer Yankees games and more Cyclones games.” He pinpoints the cause of the professed populist outrage on “the false assumption that the critic — and by extension, The Times — is suggesting that readers should be dining at expensive restaurants all the time,” and takes pains to point out that, hey, restaurant critics are people, too. “Scratch a snooty food critic and you find an ordinary human that loves a good cheeseburger, a bargain bistro or a standout street cart.” Although not, as you may recall, a KFC Double Down.