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Allison Arnett leaving Boston Globe

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Don't know if anyone caught this tidbit in the business section of today's Globe. Apparently they bought out 24 employees and she was one of them....

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  1. Here's the story: http://www.boston.com/business/globe/...

    Here's an interesting quote: "Baron said some of the staffers whose buyout applications were not approved were deemed to have special skills or hard-to-fill jobs that required immediate replacement." ... sounds like they either don't consider the reviewer job as essential, or don't consider it a job which needs special skills to fill it (or don't think Arnett has those skills, which would be my vote.


    I'll be interested to see if they even replace her. I have to say, I used to read the Globe's reviews regularly but these days hardly glance at them, because I feel I'm finding Chowhound and other online sources fill my needs.

    1. I think MC Slim should apply for the job. :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: shaebones

        Ditto! He had a great piece in the Dig yesterday about Newton restaurants. Wish I went out there to try some of them out.

        1. re: sailormouth

          MC Slim should TOTALLY go for the job - he's the #1 choice IMO.
          He's by far the best food critic I've read in Boston - the only one I really
          pay any attention to. The Globe would be VERY lucky to have him.

          1. re: mao

            Plus, if he leaves, I can petition Wildman to move me from book reviews to restaurants. Win-win!

        2. re: shaebones

          Thanks for all the kind words, folks! But the Hound the Globe should really hire is Limster, whose tablecloth I am not fit to crumb. Best, most passionate, most poetic writing about food on the Greater Boston board, in my opinion, and far more knowledgeable about cuisines of the Eastern Hemisphere.

          And while I took my shots at her (mostly when I disliked places she raved about), I'm sorry to see Alison Arnett go. It's a job that looks easier and cushier than it actually is, and it's very easy to snipe at. I also liked Sheryl Julian's reviews.

          Presumably, this isn't the last we'll hear from them; they'll find other venues. As recently discussed here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/380960 , the days of the lone-voice, old media critic may be numbered, anyway, thanks in no small part to outlets like Chowhound.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Many thanks for the kind words. But it's important to remember that at a site like CH, we all grab crumbs (in the form of chowtips) off everyone else's tablecloth and we all eat for the better. It's not about individuals, but about a diverse collection of opinions and information from everyone who's willing to pitch in with chowtips. I get to eat really well because I read everyone on the board, rather than following just a few hounds. And while knowledge can come in handy, I often find refreshing and useful perspectives from hounds who come from a naive and therefore unbiased standpoint.

          I love reading the Globe food blog, and always look forward to what Allison Arnett has to say about... well... anything. I find her restaurant reviews informative and fair, and her writing interesting and funny. I'm saddened to think now that I will be stuck with Devra First, who I find a bit snarky and whose writing tries quite hard to be hip - like it's standing in Lower Allston, looking around to see who notices her wallet chain and trucker hat.

          1. And yet Dippy Sheryl Julian remains. Feh.

            11 Replies
            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Uh. No. She doesn't. Sheryl Julian took the package as well. Looking at all the other names on that list, it's going to leave us with a very thin newspaper.

              1. re: Whisker

                Physically thinner, starting soon: like the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, they're slicing down the size of the page by about an inch. On the other hand, I'm looking forward to a food section edited by someone other than Sheryl Julian.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  On the other hand, I'm looking forward to a food section edited by someone other than Sheryl Julian.
                  And yet she received a James Beard Foundation nomination this year for the category of Best Newspaper Section, so someone thinks she's doing well enough at her job! I don't find her all that bad - although the Globe's food section has deteriorated a bit since Joe Yonan left. I also seem to see a lot of topics covered that have already been covered here on CH, so you gotta wonder how many of them are perusing the site. :-)

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    C'mon, why so critical? You want something more than Wednesday's recipe (from their 'italian correspondent', no less) to boil greens for five minutes and top with olive oil? Picky, picky..... ;-)

                    1. re: slowcookedbeef

                      :-) Yeah, just a BIT more, pleaseandthankyou.

                      And not crostini with mozzarella on top or pasta with cauliflower, as the last 2 in the series have given us. While it may be good, it's just not all "there there" - at least not for me. Three out of the eight in the "Cooking in Rome" series are done - guess I'll just have to be resigned that we're going to see 5 more.

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      Actually, it wasn't for the "food section" it was for:

                      "Category: Website Focusing on Food, Beverage, Restaurant or Nutrition "

                      Which makes me think it was for the blog. It's not for the section.

                      1. re: Whisker

                        Whisker, I believe the category headings are listed first, and then the nominees are listed immediately below them:


                        Scroll down to Page 4 - the category you mention is immediately below this one, with others nominated in that category, including Leite's Culinaria:

                        Category: Newspaper Section

                        The Boston Globe - Sheryl Julian
                        Chicago Tribune - Carol Mighton Haddix
                        San Francisco Chronicle - Miriam Morgan and Jon Bonne

                        Category: Website Focusing on Food, Beverage, Restaurant or Nutrition

                        Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog - Tyler Colman
                        Epicurious - Tanya Steel
                        Leite’s Culinaria - David Leite and Linda Avery

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I think you're right. Thanks for correcting me -- terribly sorry for the mistake. Perhaps it was just the shock of the section being nominated! LOL!

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        Ahh- I was wondering why I hadn't seen Joe's byline lately. Where did he go?

                        1. re: Chris VR

                          He was made Food Editor of the Washington Post in mid-late summer of 2006? Seems like he's been busy down there:


                      3. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        I have made many recipes from Sheryl Julian's Sunday column in the Globe magazine that our family has enjoyed and guests have asked for the recipe...not the baked goods, but chicken for sure.

                  2. arnett got her job through nepotism. it had nothing to do with a particular skill set, and to me, it seemed pretty obvious she didn't really much care for any of it. it is a tough job and not one i'd want. but i don't hold out much hope for a *better* replacement.

                    we shall see.

                    according to many old-timers, anthony spinazolla was the last *good* critic at the globe. before my time, and it was long before the blossoming of our restaurant scene.

                    1. Let's just hope that the Globe starts to cater to chowhound tastes, and not more foodies. Arnett's food selection seemed to trend toward the same items that were edgy maybe 15 years ago (i.e., foie gras), but were somewhat irrelevant today. (Although I suppose the respective chefs are to blame as well.)

                      A voice like Limster or MC Slim would invite Bostonians to try all things new and different, which can only lead to continued cuisine IQ inflation for our fine city.

                      See AquariumTown's thought-provoking post on the viability of Ortanique in North Cambridge for what I am getting at........http://www.chowhound.com/topics/384718

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        arnett reviews new places, and revisits old, all at medium or high end prices. it's not her fault foie gras and tuna tartare are ubiquitous on these menus. people expect them, chefs make them. i've worked in boston restaurants for many years, and the diners are not all that adventurous. hence our proliferation of steakhouses.

                        the demographic of globe readers is not trekking to eastie for pupusas or dot. ave. for goat stew. a critic's responsibility is not to be a taste-maker, but to report on *what is*.

                        although ortanique sounds fun, it's more likely to fall under "cheap eats," don'tcha think?

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          I have to disagree with your second point - Critics act as tastemakers all the time - If Jeffrey Steingarten gives a place a thumbs-up, people will flock. If Michelin awards a star, it's opinion, not just what is. When Allison Arnett chose the foie gras to taste, rather than something else, it sticks in people's head as the cool thing to eat. Think about the power of a movie, Sideways, in swaying people's choices toward Pinot Noir.

                          There are surely larger issues at work under the surface, but I would be willing to bet that if someone wrote with feeling about the sublime qualities of goat stew, and even reviewed several places that had it, more people in Boston would go to try it, and you might see some chefs putting it on their higher-end menu, or at least thinking outside the box. The media has the power to lead, and not just observe.

                        2. re: Bob Dobalina

                          "A voice like Limster or MC Slim would invite Bostonians to try all things new and different, which can only lead to continued cuisine IQ inflation for our fine city."

                          The cool thing is that the diverse voice of chowhound, rather than the limited opinions of a few individuals, is already doing that for every city. :)

                        3. I'd personally love to see Ruth Tobias make the jump to the Globe, but that's just me.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: gini

                            Agreed: Tobias is a great writer, passionate about food, funny/witty, rather more adventurous than many local food writers, and extremely knowledgeable about the Boston restaurant scene across the spectrum, not just the high end.

                            1. re: gini

                              See Ya later allison. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I was very happy when I heard that allison was leaving the boston globe. I have to admit that I wish it was due to her incompetent writing and review style rather than an overall labor downsize. Her writing over the years has lead me to believe that reviewing is simply a job and not a passion for her. She completly lost me when she wasted print explaing the hardships and perils of being a food critic. She talked about her weight and staying fit while dining for free at Bostons finest establishments. Lets not forget that before food writing she wrote about flowers. I hope that a life of horticulture awaits her at a slower more passionful speed.

                              1. re: milkshake

                                I heard Sheryl Julian speak at a symposium this weekend. She did indeed take the buy out, but was pressured by the newspaper to stay, and therefore she is.