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Feb 28, 2008 05:11 AM

Montreal Gazette 'Food' Section New Low

Currently in town we have the Highlights Festival going on there are a quite a number of visiting chefs in town. Some are very high profile, others are up and coming, others are from different parts of the world and can provide insight into different cuisines. Certainly there are no shortages of interesting people and stories to cover.

So with all this going on what does the local paper, The Gazette do? In the Saturday 'food' section. It features a THREE page spread about some local woman! She has a TVshow seen locally, and has a book again locally.

It's certainly good that the paper is focusing on local ‘talent’. But as this woman isn’t going anywhere. In fact she has been around for a while. Did they really need to give her the extraordinary amount of three full pages in their Saturday section? Why not talk about some of the talent that is visiting the city? Build up the festival. I don’t get it.

It is because the ‘critic’/food expert Lesley Chesterman, with questionable insight and originality, has to be the star? She can’t ever seem to write about people who don’t know who she is. And I certainly don’t get why the section editor would go ahead with such a large piece at such a time.

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  1. I have also been surprised by the lack of info in the English media about the Highlights Festival, and I wonder if it is the same in the French Media. But fortunately, it is easy to find the program around town.

    In general, i have been disappointed with the Arts and Living Section of the Gazette (not to mention the rest of the paper). I like the reviews of both Lesley Chesterman and Sarah Musgrove (even if I don't always agree), but I rarely find a lot to read in the Gazette. It is content-challenged. Guess that is why I don't suscribe!

    1. Both Lesley Chesterman & Julian Armstrong are covering the Montreal High Lights Festival, as part ot their diary on the Montreal Gazette website(although it's very hard to find their diary on the Montreal Gazette website). They did the same thing last year(Sarah Musgrave was also involved last year). My problem with Lesley here, is that she's not anonymous(how could she get into the participating Montreal restaurants to cover it, without being recognized by people in the restaurants).

      1 Reply
      1. re: BLM

        In today's Gazette there is an article about how ratings for The Oscars are at an all time low. Perhaps after 80 years people are somewhat bored. There is perhaps a parallel with the Highlights Festival. The first few years it was really "cool" that chefs from around the world came to cook in Montreal. Over time many of us realized that the day after they left by and large their local "hosts" returned to their usual routines. Maybe we've become bored by the event. I know that I haven't gone in several years after finding that many of the meals were underwhelming given the prices and the hype.

      2. Just an educated guess, Lesley Chesterman is going to devote at least 3 full pages to Susur Lee in this coming Saturday paper.

        1. Well, The Gazette has been running a "highlights diary" online during the week...

          Wonder why nothing in the weekend edition though? Maybe something to do with the fact that the Festival didn't really advertise in the Gazette? I'm thinking that this top-dollar advertising snub could account for some of the lacklustre coverage.

          1. The Globe and Mail ran a feature on it in yesterday's paper. Okay, they're featuring Toronto chefs this year, so it's not that surprising. But I find that the only mention in the Gazette of the Highlights festival tends to be a few weeks after the event is over, talking about all the wonderful meals that took place. I really don't understand why that can't talk about this event in advance. But then, don't get me started on what I think of The Gazette in general...