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Do Food Reviewers Troll This Site?

I hope this is the right board to post this question, but it is something I have wondered for a long time: do food reviewers visit chowhound, either for ideas of places to check out or for the word on places they have reviewed? More generally, where do they get ideas for what places to check out?

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  1. Alice, I live in the Seattle area. I am certain local reviewers visit Chowhound quite often. (Our local Chowhounds are generally way ahead of local reviewers in finding new and good places as well as supporting Chow-worthy established restaurants.) We don't mind; Chowhound is for every true food lover.

    1. Several of the Boston Globe food writers read the site and post on the Boston board. I wish the Globe reviewers would read the site more often... *g*

      1. In a word, yes.

        Keep in mind that reviewers aren't trying to be first. Most reviewers like to give a restaurant from 1-3 months before reviewing it. Just because it appeared first on Chowhound doesn't mean that a reviewer discovered a place from the board.

        1. Absolutely. Food writers are food junkies like us, but smarter: they get paid for it and have an expense account to pay for the meals. I definitely see patterns in NYC where Chowhound starts talking about something then a few weeks later it shows up in the NY Times, Post, etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: xavier

            And some mention Chowhound. Check out this, written by the Village Voice's top reviewer. http://www.villagevoice.com/nycguide/...

            1. re: Brian S

              Yes they do. Out here on the southern West Coast, I noticed that the restaurant reviewer of Orange Coast magazine (OC, CA) says she got the inspiration for her current July issue restaurant review of Shin-Sen-Gumi by reading chowhound.com (LA board) and other local internet food blogs. If you're in the restaurant reviewing business, I guess it helps to keep your ear very close to the ground. To those of you involved, know you are being heard!


          2. I've seen food critics credit the site, so yes, they must be using it for information.

            1. Almost all the major food writers in the SF Bay Area read Chowhound. Sometimes they even post. I would say they all do, except I think Michael Bauer believes Chowhound is beneath him. But from the angry emails defending him I've gotten when I've bashed him, I'm pretty sure he has people who report back to him what's said here.

              1. I would love to know if any in the Austin, Texas area do...my guess would be no.

                7 Replies
                1. re: amysuehere

                  My guess would be yes, amysuehere.

                  I’ve never seen a local reviewer cite chowhound, but that doesn’t mean they don’t read it for information. The Chronicle has run at least one blurb mentioning this site. The Statesman started its own dining board, as you know. Thus, it's not inconceivable that local food reviewers check out chowhound’s Texas board. Not that it’s helped any.

                  But why would you love to know? Just curious.

                  1. re: MPH

                    I do and have credited Chowhound on several occasions. Its just smart, I am into food and would be on this and other sites regardless..

                    By the way, this is my first post since the "change" I couldnt log on as Culinary Detective...so now I am CCOGNAC..


                    1. re: ccognac

                      I think that's great.

                      But are you based in Austin? When I wrote that I hadn't seen chowhound cited by any "local" food reviewers, I was referring to those in the Austin area, which amysuehere had asked about.


                      1. re: ccognac

                        And looking forward to your Food TV show, Chris - I read about it over on eGullet, and saw you're hitting Boston, among other cities. Any idea when it starts?

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          What Food TV show are you talking about?

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Melly - there's a new show that Chris (a.k.a. Culinary Detective) is going to be hosting. Kind of like a cop's eye view of the best of the local stuff - the little hideaway shops, under-the-radar type of places. I believe that's what it's about. Chris can explain better.

                          2. re: ccognac

                            Pho and Bhan Mi in Northern VA superior to any I had in Houston, if you get a chance to make it here send me a note (username at gmail) and I'll point you in the right direction.

                      2. No, I am L.A. based....sorry, still getting used to the new site....by the way, I was a judge on the "David Bull" from the Driskil Grill in Austin Iron Chef America Battle...he is really good!

                        1. Thanks Linda...we already shot the Vegas show (think Chicken Fried Lobster..it was awesome) and we leave for Philly and Boston in 2 weeks...our first delivery to food net is Nov 1st...so mid Nov should be a start date...but that could always change....We have put tons of work into it so far...going to be a big change from the usual stuff you see...lots of dives and hole in the walls....I have to start working out so I dont get to fat...the Philly show is gonna kill me!

                          Dammit, still trying to figure out this new site....posted in wrong place...oh well

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ccognac

                            :-) Click the "reply" button at the bottom-right of the post you want to respond to - but that is only good for 5 levels of the tree...then you have to go back to the main Reply box at the bottom

                          2. I'm sure some of the Dallas reviewers (as well as some of the chef's) do. In fact, I know that some of the chefs read it just to see what's working and what's not (whether in their restaurants or in others).


                            1. I'm a reviewer and a Chowhound regular.

                              Outside of the occasional press release or email from a reader, I learn about places the same way any other food-obsessed person does: word of mouth from friends and acqaintances; tips from bartenders and sommeliers; posts on Chowhound and other community sites; restaurant news columns and sites; online searches for places serving particular dishes or cuisines; and simply walking around with eyes and nose open.

                              Very often I learn of new places through several of those sources almost simultaneously.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Funny how that happens. Sometimes it's because it's a new place, but sometimes it's just some kind of weird chow-synchronicity that all of a sudden a place that's been sitting quietly gets "discovered."

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  I was planning to review Old Mandarin Islamic, since it seemed to have fallen off the radar. At around 6pm of the evening of my first review meal there was a new report about it on Chowhound, which mentioned that the owner told them it was going to be on "Check, Please! Bay Area" that week! So I put it off for a few months.

                              2. Ruth, I've also noticed the same kind of wierd chow-synchronicities and I love them. All of a sudden a wonderful funky hole in the wall gets "discovered" after many years in business.

                                As a reviewer and food writer I've mentioned CH several times, but often it gets edited out. I know serveal food writers and reviewers who spend lots of time on CH and other relevant sites, it kind of goes with the territory. Chowhound happens to be one the most relevant and informative sites for anyone with a food focused life.

                                1. I agree with Scottso. As a food journalist, of course I read Chowhound.
                                  I also read egullet, gastropoda, Frank Bruni's blog, mouthfulsfood, thefoodsection, MUG, dailycandy and several others. Plus Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Cook's Illustrated, Fine Cooking, Martha Stewart Living, Eating Well and Cooking Light. I read the content of food sections from New York to California, either through wire feeds or web sites. (I read really, really fast.)

                                  I also get feedback and suggestions from Charlotte Observer readers, and listen to my friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances and people I run in to while wandering the world. I peek in people's shopping carts at the supermarket and eavesdrop at the farmer's markets on Saturday mornings.

                                  It's not a question of seeing something on Chowhound and dashing out to try it. It's more the osmosis of continually absorbing information that is part of any reporter's life.

                                  I'm not a restaurant reviewer, but I think critical mass also comes into play. Most reviewers wait until a restaurant has been open a certain length of time (it varies by each paper's policy) to start visiting, to give the place time to get the kinks out while still focusing on that which is new and interesting. That seems to correspond roughly with the amount of time it takes for food fans to go there, get back and post on threads like this one.

                                  Since reviewers' readers are interested diners, like people who post here, they're also getting calls from readers who ask if they've eaten at Restaurant XYZ yet.

                                  1. Reports on XYZ have mostly been tepid except for their special wine bargains.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      XYZ maybe tepid, but as long as the ABC is not on their case, they should be AOK.

                                    2. I was at Slow Food potluck, see my Rabbit Terrine post, and there were two food writers there on Sunday. One from a magazine. They both admitted to being CH addicts and readers.

                                      1. I used to go there, but I got sick of the alphabet soup. But the ABC is handy if the policy is BYO.