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Toby Young Responds to Critics

"But one of the penalties of being a well-educated Brit in America is that people are constantly accusing you of having memorised lines for the simple reason that you talk in complete sentences and — completely unheard of, this — you don’t make any grammatical mistakes."


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  1. Toby is definitely defensive. But he is also dead wrong. The lines he used are tiresome and forced, not because it is spoken in complete sentences.

    If he would just concentrate on giving concise analysis and impressions of what he is eating versus thinking up one liners that are way too long, he would do alright.

    1. What an arrogant self-righteous prig.

      Maybe he should go back to England where everyone speaks the King's English in complete sentences and doesn't make any grammatical errors -- instead of wasting his time with us stoopid yanks who don't know nothin' about talkin' good.

      It would be just fine with me.

      1. Interesting rather self serving and completely missing the point. Never heard any suggestions that he has lines written in advance. He does however seem to take great pride in the (long winded and uninteresting) lines he comes up. He skips over the point that people are really questioning his qualifications, if any, for being on the show. He assumes that he is too talented to be appreciated.

        It does strike me as odd that when asked to do a TV show he apparently made no attempts to learn any thing about it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Withnail42

          Colin in the Comments section says a lot. :-)

          I agree this entire article was totally self-serving and done to stroke his own ego. He seems incapable of realizing how he comes across. How bombastic of him to say that only Englishmen speak in complete sentences and don't make grammatical mistakes. (And yes, the use of "bombastic" was tongue-in-cheek. <g>)

          I didn't mind him as much on the 2nd show - but reading this article in Spectator has changed my opinion of him yet again.

          Toby seems to not be heeding the London tube's "Mind the Gap" messages - as there's a very large gap between what he thinks an audience wants and reality.

        2. I find amusing when a professional critic gets so bent out of shape when he is on the receiving end of criticism. Perhaps that's just one of my "chattering class" traits.

            1. For me, what Toby Young lacks as a Brit is the elegance of a turn of phrase that for me is completely characteristic of the English friends I have. It is not because of his lack of grammatical errors and his penchant for speaking in complete sentences (and see -- I prefer that you "speak" in complete sentences, not "talk" in them), it's that what he says seems labored and forced, as if he feels he is getting paid per 'mot juste.' So far, the 'mots' have been anything but 'juste.' Where is Oscar Wilde when you need him?

              2 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                What's missing with Young is not grammar or complete sentences: just the actual thinking that goes behind them.

                1. re: roxlet

                  I'm in total agreement. He's literate. So are the other judges, and I don't think any of them are British. The other judges seem to know their food as well. Toby Young seems to be more concerned about appearing to be better than everyone else than he is in giving a cogent, knowledgable critique. Give me Anthony Bourdain any time.

                2. I worry that he's trying to get a gig over here with Bravo.

                  So far, he's overshadowed the launch of the French dude who will have a Bravo show sometime in the immediate future.

                  As a critic, he should be fair and able to support his criticisms. He should also be able to defend his statements, were he to make them to the chefs' faces. Since many are indefensible, I'd expect to find him cowering under the table, writing a critique of the lack of quality of the tablecloth and forgetting to mention why he was under the table.

                  1. Yeah, his comments are labored on Top Chef, but he hasn't been as annoying as I expected him to be. Wonder if he realized he wasn't obnoxious enough on TC to live up to his reputation, so he wrote that article. He fancies himself a wit, so I'm sure he's familiar with Oscar Wilde's epigram about being talked about and not being talked about.

                    1. One of the penalties of being a well-educated Brit in America is that you think empty headed ideas wrapped in complete sentences and without grammatical mistakes mean more than empty headed ideas with bungling sentences. Does it really matter whether his uncreative, unhelpful statements about cat food and the bland leading the bland were premeditated or off the cuff? Either way, they were not clever or funny.

                      Who else would accept a job opportunity knowing very little about it, crash and burn, and then blame others for the way they've come off? Oh...well, maybe his next interview could be with Katie Couric.

                      1. Apparently TY, while having mastered the art of speaking in complete sentences, has yet to master basic spelling. From his Bravo blog ->

                        "As team leader, Radhika had to bare some responsibility for the failure of Carla's desserts -- and if you couple that with the fact that she was a very lackluster front-of-house presence, she deserved to go."

                        "bare" responsibility?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Frodnesor

                          Yeah, I saw that as well. Someone commented on that spelling and another grammatical issue (use of was/were). But it actually now looks like the comment about "bare" being the incorrect word was removed - I'm not seeing it!

                          AND I see why it was removed - whoever monitors the blog has fixed Toby's misspelling.

                        2. He confuses wit with hyperbole. Using extremes to make a point reduces one's credibility, in my opinion. His zingers are more apt for the British tabloids.

                          1. One more good reason to like him - this gem from his Bravo blog on the "Super Bowl" episode:

                            "Why should women be better at cooking "football food" than men? Perhaps the answer is that in spite of the advances made by the feminist movement, in most households women are still stuck behind the stove on game day."


                            Yeah, that must be it - a variation on the old bare-foot in the kitchen thing. Couldn't possibly be that these women (who are all PROFESSIONAL CHEFS, not Holly Homemakers), are just as talented, if not moreso, than the men they're competing against, right?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              As a "well-educated Brit" I was surprised that he knew so much about American football. Just an all around expert on all things American I guess.

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                Yeah, that kind of pissed me off. HOWEVER - he did link this absolute GEM of a complaint letter sent to Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic! http://tinyurl.com/azxndo OMG, this is absolutely priceless!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  That letter has been on the front page of the Times of London internet portal page so often that even non-Brits saw it much earlier this week.