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Feb 28, 2013 03:58 PM

Where's Devra First?

Anyone know where Devra First is? I miss her reviews in the Globe...

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  1. She's out on maternity leave - I think she's due back some time in March.

    1. I was never a huge fan of First's writing until she stopped appearing every Wednesday and I started reading her fill-ins, then I missed her insight dearly.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mats77

        I really miss Devra's chats. I had so much fun participating in those--hopefully they will start up again when she returns.

        1. re: mats77

          Yep. I saw a "to die for" in last week's fill-in review, and I nearly plotzed. I miss the chats, too.

        2. thanks everyone. Allstonian, I read her last chat before Tgiving, and she said that chats would resume in May. I agree, her fill-ins leave a lot to be desired - they should kind of jettison the stars while she's gone...

          9 Replies
          1. re: sallyt

            i SO agree w/ you that they should ax that star system while Devra is away(congrats to her.) I was so alarmed when one of these pinch hitters gave 2 1/2 stars to someone that, per the review content, seemed worthy of far less; all i could think about was the First-reviewed chefs who would feel so cheated...... <No fair>

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Star ratings are terrible in general and should be done away with. Every pro critic hates them.


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Truth, and that applies to music, books, films, etc. as well as restaurant reviews. Outlets have star ratings because publishers think audiences want them.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  i remembered enjoying this eater article on critics thoughts on star system:

                  OOC mc slim- was 'every' just a bit of hyperbole on your part, or do you think that these critics are just defending the system (for one good reason or another) but in reality dislike it?

                  1. re: valcfield

                    My sample is admittedly small (local folks, mostly), but I think the reasons for despising stars are obvious. And my favorite food writer of all time, Jonathan Gold, is anti: good enough for me.

                    You can tell how the ones that are forced to use stars struggle with them. How many times have you read a review and sensed a mismatch between the content and the star rating? I see that all the time.


                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      agreed, way too many issues with stars. the only interesting argument i see on the other side tends to be that it somehow holds the reviewer 'accountable' to telling you their actual feelings on a restaurant.

                      i do agree that sometimes, without a star, it can be hard to tell to occasionally parse a review, but, on the other hand, i find that having stars forces the review to focus on the 'average' experience one might have, if you approached the restaurant blind, as opposed to being able to describe the best (and worst) possible experiences. I think that information is much more useful to the customer, and probably the restaurant as well...

                  2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                    I'm sort of convinced that many audiences DO want them. I have no real food examples, but I remember a few years back when Games for Windows magazine decided to do away with them for videogames because the editors thought they were dumb. Readers freaked out & they were forced to put them back a couple months later...

                  3. re: MC Slim JB

                    My experience is different from yours regarding what critics think about the star system. Personally, I find that there is a lot of value, especially when you find a critic with a keen sense of calibration—which is hard to find.

                    1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                      Debra's own take on stars, in response to the LA Times eliminating them (I imagine something J. Gold insisted on) is a pretty typical example of the anti argument.