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Seattle Mag's Allison Scheff On Reviews and Discretion

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Sam Sifton's announcement that he's leaving his post as New York Times dining critic has unleashed uproar, speculation and general discussion about whether honest-to-god critics are still relevant, or even necessary. Amidst all this, one of our own (actually anonymous) restaurant critics issues a gentle reminder of the effort that goes into actual restaurant criticism.

Seattle Magazine critic Allison Scheff writes, "In an age of oversharing, I'm a secret squirrel." She says she uses social media with discretion to avoid tipping off restaurants to her recent presence, or upcoming review. She also says eats at places over and over...and over again and throws out an awfully juicy preview: this particular critic had the worst service of the entire year last weekend, at a restaurant she's reviewing for the January issue.

As for the idea that Yelp/the Internet/whatever has made professional criticism obsolete? "I realize the seduction of that argument is at least partly due to how this job is done when it's done properly (ie, no freebies, no buddying with chefs, generally being as discreet as possible)."

· Behind the Page: A Restaurant Reviewer's Average Day [Seattle Mag]
· All Food Media Coverage on Eater Seattle [-ESEA-]
This is an actual photograph of Seattle Magazine critic Allison Austin Scheff (full disclosure: no it isn't) [Photo]

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