Food and wine media in Nova Scotia [moved from Canada board[
Not hard for anything to be better than the DN nowadays. I no longer consider it a newspaper.
It was very good for a while there.
Food and wine writing in town is spotty. Sean W still has his moments, but I wish he'd be a little more controversial at times. I wish Liz Feltham knew something about wine because her food reviews are reliable. Spurr is an embarassment. The Don Cherry of food writing. Problem is, he'd like that moniker. And the monthlies actually get out of Region writers, or NSLC shills to write for them on drink, which is a disgrace.
The new editor at The Daily News is trying to return the newspaper to its feisty days of old, and that can only be a good thing. They have the talent; management has always just needed to get behind them. And they needed a good editor in chief, and they have one again. We'll see if the paper continues to make progress. But having Peter Rockwell do their wine columns is bloody ridiculous.
Not surprisingly, I agree with your assessment of food and wine writing in Nova Scotia. I guess Sean is OK, but I cringe when I see his byline in Occasions, the NSLC's magazine. He shouldn't write for them. Ever!
(An aside... The NSLC continues to hate me with a passion. When I was hired as a contributor to Wine Access, NSLC exec Hector Saulnier wrote a nasty "private" letter to the editor, and tried to get me fired. :-) Wood replaced me a few months later, so I guess he got his wish.)
I like Liz Feltham's reviews, but she needs a better editor, and sometimes she's too easily impressed. A few restaurateurs that I know make the comment that she sometimes makes glaring mistakes in her reviews, and we've come across that, too. (One recent example had her describing a cheese as buffalo milk mozzarella, when it was nothing of the sort). Big city reviewers have to nail restaurants when they try that sort of thing.
I like Val Mansour's writing, and I admire her other work, but I don't trust her restaurant opinions after eating bad meals at places she liked. I also don't get the impression that she's ever worked in a restaurant, and I think that's vital to the job.
I laughed out loud at your description of the Herald's Spurr, and then even louder at your suggestion that he'd actually like to be called the Don Cherry of food writing. You are right on the money. And he is an embarrassment. Sad to say, we read him for amusement. I don't like to be mean, but there you are.
And after having said all that, allow me to skewer myself. The restaurant pieces that I wrote for The DN in the 1990s were just puff pieces; they didn't want reviews, and wouldn't pay for them. So I tried to profile interesting restaurants and chefs, and leave it at that. They weren't satisfying to write, and I wasn't pleased with my work.
The restaurant reviews that I did for enRoute were the real thing.