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May 19, 2012 08:27 AM

Joanne Kates retires

There is a short note at the end of Joanne Kates' review of The Saint in today's Globe and Mail announcing that it will be her final review after 38 years as restaurant critic -- a farewell column is due next week.

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  1. I have read most of her reviews over the last 10 years and for the most part, I enjoyed them. I wish she would focus more on the food and less on the decor, and specifically on her preferences (to her credit, she was always upfront about her biases). It will be interesting to see who takes over and how their personal style compares.

    13 Replies
    1. re: downtownfoodie

      Anybody think James Chatto comes out of "retirement"?

      1. re: TexSquared

        ^^ Funny, that same thought went through my head.

        That would be a shame. Has he ever been to a restaurant he *didn't* like :S

        1. re: CocoaChanel

          He writes about what he likes, which doesn't mean he likes every restaurant he's been to, only that he does not write about restaurants he didn't like.

        2. re: TexSquared

          James Chatto retired? That never happened. Yes, he no longer writes for Toronto Life, but he is busy as ever. Even when he wrote for Toronto Life, he had many other projects on the go.

          1. re: Full tummy

            I meant retired from real print media. Anybody can do a blog.

            1. re: TexSquared

              James has many real print media responsibilities. Plus the blog.


              1. re: Full tummy

                Ok lets see here: Harry magazine is an ad for Harry Rosen, Food and Drink is an ad for the LCBO, ROM magazine is an AD for the ROM, the Toronto Standard is a make believe digital publication with zero recent articles by Mr. Chatto, "National Culinary advisor" is a wank job honourary position. Yeah sure real print media. The blog is okay.

                1. re: haggisdragon

                  Writing for brand magazines can be one of the better-paying jobs in freelance journalism. And Food & Drink is one of the most popular food publications in the province. Chatto is doing just fine.

                  1. re: haggisdragon

                    You don't get my point. It was not about the credibility or quality of publications he works for merely that he is very far from retired. Whether or not one believes these publications to be "ads", he is busy. Busy as ever, and doing very well. That was my point.

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      My thoughts exactly.

                      The quality of food writing at TL has gone downhill since Chatto left, and most of the people "writing" on the topic of food or restaurants for TL are foodies, not writers.

                      Chatto also writes for Zoomer. Considering how many baby boomers are entering their 50s, I wouldn't be surprised if more Canadians read Zoomer than Toronto Life.

                      I thought much of what Chatto said in the linked interview is interesting and accurate:

                      1. re: prima

                        Isn't it ironic the interview was on blogto? I find most of their food writing horrendous and ill informed. Even though my tastes different quite significantly from Chatto and Kates, I find they at least do some research.

        3. Turns out she retired from the Globe, but will be writing for Postcity:

          7 Replies
            1. re: Dean Tudor

              I did. Comments on a quick reading of the JK review

              The bit about Conrad Black was gratuitous, pandering and consequently insulting to the reader and a waste of space. At least she does write mostly about the food although she doesn't say very much meaningful. Furthermore the writing is logically incoherent in several parts, suggesting that there had been no editing by either the writer or the publication.. So I couldn't figure out what is her standard nor the basis of some of her complaints and compliments. Eg, "kick-ass" may be a word de jour, but is not usefully descriptive of a salad unless it induces diarrhoea. The sense that I get is that she is accustomed to get more for her writing and has given this publication what she thinks it deserves for what she is being paid- a quicky.

              I do get the sense that the place is more about about see and be scene, than about the food. But she uses too many words, and the extra words just make the piece vulnerable to criticism.

              Price of food and booze and portion size would be nice and perhaps indicative of the place and helpful to her point of view; or perhaps not.

              At the bottom there is a note that says she has published in the NY Times, Chatelaine and another one, but there is no mention of her main publication, the Globe & Mail. Why? Did she leave on a sour note? Was she let go? I guess the latter. Either you retire or you don't, and if you don't, you write for bigger and better paying publications. And they can offer you editors.

              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                "Eg, "kick-ass" may be a word de jour, but is not usefully descriptive of a salad unless it induces diarrhoea."

                With all those food critics and bloggers out there sometimes it's difficult to distinguish the runny poop from the verbal diarrhea.

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi


                  i was left with a funny taste in my mouth after reading her she was trying to be young and hip (references to big boobs and phrases like kick-ass) after 40 years with a relatively staid publication like the globe. at least she stayed consistent by focusing a large portion of her review on the fact that she wasn't treated as she obviously feels she deserves to be treated. yes...service isn't what it used to be. no...many restaurants don't offer reservations these days. if you eat out in toronto at all then you know this for yourself and don't need to read a review about it. my suggestion? put it in the header with the address and the cost for two with wine. have the review talk about the food...maybe with a mention of the decor if it is remarkable.

                  1. re: downtownfoodie

                    Disagree completely. It's important that people speak out against the terrible service, refusal to take reservations, etc. Too many people are sheep and don't seem to mind being treated badly. Look what the airlines get away with. I applaude anyone who speaks out and focusses attention on such odious trends before they become the norm.

                    1. re: evansl

                      Exactly. It boggles the mind how anybody can defend Terroni's "service". If you like Terroni then you have no business complaining about airlines, mobile phone companies, and banks.

                      1. re: TexSquared

                        I have to agree. The recommended tip percentage keeps going up, while the quality of service is going down. There has to be some justification for quadrupling the cost of a bottle of wine.