Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Apr 28, 2008 03:01 PM

Calgary - Gilchrist's Book?

Have any of you picked up Gilchrist's new book on Cheap Eats in Calgary? If you have, would you recommend it?

I'm still fairly new to Calgary and haven't had the opportunity to read many of his reviews, so I don't know how our tastes match up. What's the concensus among Calgary Chowhounds?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would recommend it - it has a lot of places I've tried and really enjoyed in the past year, and lots more that sound really interesting that I'll be checking out in the future.

    1. It's useful, a good investment.

      1. I prefer to defer to the people on this board. MHO: Gilchrist is a sad, sad, shlepping gastronome clown whose insights are as unique and independent as starbucks baristas.

        2 Replies
          1. re: toutefrite

            Thank you TF. I agree 100% and then some. His attitude, his approach to reviewing, his lack of integrity, and his ego all irritate the heck out of me.

            It actually wouldnt surprise me if he uses this board as the basis for some reviews. I've always wondered, and I've seen some surprising similarities. I also have heard enough scary first hand accounts of his dealings with restaurants he reviews that i question his entire approach to restaurant reviews. Demanding he get comped on his meal (this has been validated by several different sources at different restaurants) is just plain wrong.

            JG, if you read this, develop some self-respect and start taking your job seriously. That means with some integrity, and commitment to the truth, as well as educating yourself from something other than wikipedia. People deserve no less.

          2. I wouldn't go quite so far at toutefrite but I'd surf boards like this one before I spend a dime on his recommendations. As I've said before, I'm not sure that the opinions of a well recognized food critic are that useful.

            A while back (I think in Avenue or City Palate) he wrote about an $8.95 plate (at an inexpensive restaurant) and said that if you're a cheap tipper it's a $10 meal. That was when GST was 7%. I thought it was absolutely clueless to write that it's just "cheap tipper" to leave $10 for a $9.58 tab in a restaurant.

            5 Replies
            1. re: hsk

              I've spoken to JG a few times and have never had the nerve to ask about the recognition issue- I've never known a restaurant reviewer who puts his picture everywhere. I like the guy and like his writing but I just cannot understand this.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  John, Ruth Reichl answered the perennial restaurant critic recognition issue in her seminal Le Cirque review, where in disguise she was treated like a commoner, and on another visit when recognized as the NYT critic without disguise, was feted like a queen. It is a great read.

                  I think toutefrite defined Gilchrist perfectly, and more. I wonder how many of those meals glowingly "reported" were comped?

                  1. re: Satiated

                    Ruth Reichl's book about her working in disguises is a great read! Sapphires and Diamonds, I think it's called, and it includes that Le Cirque review.

                    I totally agree about the recognition thing. Not sure what the point of an unbiased review is when everyone in the restaurant knows who you are and what you're doing.

                    1. re: alau2

                      I have zero respect for JC's restaurant reviews - I am sure he is a decent fellow - but it's a bit like Kitchen Nightmares, the Gordon Ramsey show where he helps to relaunch crappy restaurants & about a million people turn up to the first night because word is out that Ransey is there. It's not reality & neither are JC's reviews.

              1. What's with all the JC hate?

                His favourite restaurants mesh well with the lists provided here. And there's many restaurants that he's given poor reviews to.

                He's just another opinion, nothing more. His real crime is that his reviews are in Real Audio format.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Shazam

                  well, that's the point is it not? "his favourite restaurants mesh well with the lists provided here"... you can get useful, helpful feedback here without enduring and propagating his pandering shtick. Watching him flog his book at the market with his wobbly smile just did me what with the incident hsk mentioned.

                  1. re: toutefrite

                    Hey, a wobbly smile is still a smile :)

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      It's not particularly relevant to whether the book is useful or not, more in relation to the comments on his personality, but I am aware that a chunk of the profits from this book are going to a local non-profit organisation, without a big deal being made of the fact.

                      I did get the feeling when reading the book that he checks out this board, so if you have the time to search through past posts etc it's probably not worth the $$, but if not then it's a good resource to have on hand. I would also agree that a review from a very recognizable critic is pretty pointless, especially for upscale places.