Man Bites Dog – When is a Critic not a Critic? When He’s a Jerk.


We thrive on negative journalism, which is fun to write and to read.” —Anton Ego, Ratatouille

Wow. Check out this story on Chow. A restaurant owner takes on a critic. I love it. Okay, it’s a bit of a rant. But the gist of it is spot-on.

It caught my eye for a couple of reasons: One, it quotes Anton Ego the critic in the movie Ratatouille. Two, it quotes the chef/owner of Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis. On a recent visit with my niece Marisa we ate at Hell’s Kitchen on her recommendation. It was terrific and the personality of the owner comes through in the restaurant, its food, its following. His rebuttal to Andrew Zimmern and the critic’s failings is an interesting read.


That’s Zimmern who somehow got a show on the Travel Channel eating grubs and such all over the world. Doesn’t he remind you of that poor kid in grade school who would eat anything for someone’s milk money?

The most notable item of the MPLS drama is pointed out by James Norton:

When Zimmern dismisses 16 restaurants in the Twin Cities (for whom he is a paid restaurant critic) saying: “they fail to rouse me from my desk.” 

Norton notes: “It’s tough enough to do a restaurant justice with a timely 600-word review; to summarily dismiss 16 with a weary shrug does a disservice to readers and restaurateurs alike.”

I would quickly add:

if Zimmern is soooo bored and underwhelmed by his job, he should move the fuck away from that desk and give the job to a struggling writer willing to EARN their pay. You bloated, entitled self-important prick.

4 Responses to “Man Bites Dog – When is a Critic not a Critic? When He’s a Jerk.”

  1. But how do you really feel?

    Zimmern needs a healthy serving of fruit … perhaps a watermelon, lodged in the windpipe.

    Joseph Hayes said this on January 3, 2008 at 10:28 pm (edit)

  2. It’s a continuing problem, my inability to just be direct…

    jacqueline1230 said this on January 4, 2008 at 1:19 am (edit)

  3. Thanks for the post; this Zimmern/Omer feud has really gotten people talking in the Twin Cities. Speaking personally, I have to say that Anton Ego is the most nuanced fictional depiction of a restaurant critic I’ve yet to come across … the urge to give into the “dark side” and go negative for its own sake is always there. Omer’s use of Ego throughout his post was really a nice anchor to his main point… a point that ironically got buried, somewhat, in his own mountain of negativity and personal barbs.

    James Norton said this on January 4, 2008 at 1:31 pm (edit)

  4. I agree. That film is one of my favorites of the year. It worked on so many levels and you’re right, the nuanced characterization of Ego is brilliant. It would have been easy and far less compelling had they gone with the one dimensional “evil critic” stereotype. And as a person moved by food, the moment when he (Ego) tastes ratatouille and is instantly transported to a childhood moment at once captures and conveys so much more than words.

    Thanks for stopping by. I love MPLS and look forward to our next visit there!


    jacqueline1230 said this on January 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm (e

~ by jacqueline1230 on January 7, 2008.

4 Responses to “Man Bites Dog – When is a Critic not a Critic? When He’s a Jerk.”

  1. Ed Note:
    I accidentally deleted this post and was somehow able to pull a cached copy so comments which appeared in their natural place, have now become part of the post. Sorry for any confusion!

  2. As a mpls resident, I’ve got to say that the restaurants here are far superior to DC or NYC. In mpls, you can walk into any dive and get a fabulous meal for a reasonable price. Felt the same way about Montreal, CA. In DC and NYC, there’s all this hype about the trendy spots, you fork over hundreds and you’re always let down.
    Other great Mpls restaurants: Barbette, Origami, Chino Latino, Heartland (in St. Paul – the awesomest amuse bouche ever), Murrays, anything on Lake street…

  3. I don’t think I’d go so far as to put MPLS ahead of NYC, but at least in NYC paid critics will get off their asses and actually go to the restaurants they’re being paid to review! NYC is one of the best places in the world for eating well at any price point.

  4. […] offal is NOT: gross-out factor food like that eejit on FN eats. Honestly, doesn’t Zimmern remind you of that pathetic kid who’d eat anything for your milk money? He’s confused […]

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