The Gazette's fine dining critic has clearly had her fill of bloggers hyping restaurants with what can only be described as suspiciously flagrant bias (not her words).
The crux of the debate is whether objectivity can be maintained in the face of comped food and drink. For most bloguers and blogueuses who pop up at every single launch party with shameless enthusiasm, there's obviously such a thing as a free lunch. Or brunch. With food blogging and public relations so blatantly intertwined in Montreal, Chesterman's beef makes sense.
To wit, the critic blasted the Loews Hôtel Vogue's La Société Bistro three weeks ago, calling it one of the most amateurish meals she'd ever experienced. The no-star review came just weeks after some opportunistic bloggers - notably here and here - fêted Charles Khabouth's Toronto bistro concept and, coincidentally, mere days before the restaurant threw a lavish brunch for assorted media, PR and blogger types. Many couldn't resist the invite.
For regular readers of Chesterman's weekly column, it's hard to imagine a more thorough thrashing than the one she gave La Société Bistro. But it looks like another's on the horizon. Chesterman tweeted last night that she was "eating dinner in an obscenely crappy restaurant" that some bloggers in the city had singled out for praise.
The review of this mystery restaurant comes out in just over a week's time. Look for line by line comparisons with reviews from the food blogosphere in this space.
· Gazette food critic Lesley Chesterman unveils herself [Fagstein]
· Fine Dining: La Société Bistro [Gazette]
· A Soirée at La Société! [The Main]