Saturday, July 21, 2012

Next Time -- Less Snobbery?

A couple of weeks ago, China Millman announced that she was leaving her position as food critic at the Post-Gazette.  I've held off on writing a post about it, but I felt that it was necessary since one of my earliest posts was about my disdain for her writing style.

Within her farewell (but still writing for another month) article, she listed the 6 meals that had the greatest impact on her career.  Predictably, she only listed 1 in Pittsburgh, but 1 in Boston, 1 in Chicago and 3 in Europe and Asia.  Because everyone is very concerned about the cuisine in Vietnam while living in Pittsburgh.

The problem with China Millman is that she tried to raise the level of discourse in an area that did not need it.  Her rating scale, at first glance, makes all restaurants look sub-par.  In her world, where she tried to adopt a more worldly Michelin-style restaurant rating, made 2 stars out of 4 stars a great rating.  But to a guy or girl just picking up the paper and wanting to read about a new restaurant, it looks like the place is average at best.

A Pittsburgher wants to know the style of cuisine, the dishes that were great, the dishes that fell flat, the price range, and the ambiance.  They don't need subtly veiled love letters to Kevin Sousa, constant comparisons to how the food scene is better everywhere than here, and reports from overseas locations that 92% of the Post-Gazette readers will never be visiting.

Gretchen McKay and Marlene Parrish are much more accessible to readers of the Post-Gazette and would be fine choices to follow in China Millman's footsteps.  At that point, the Post-Gazette Food section will get more realistic about what it offers its readers and less about becoming a hybrid of Travel/Food Networks.

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