Food Critics, should they be taken seriously or not?

There’s a whole myriad of television shows devoted to food and cooking. Some of my favourites include Food Safari on SBS, The Cook and the Chef on ABC and of course the highly entertaining Iron Chef on SBS.

More recently, I’ve been tuning into Masterchef on Channel Ten.  It’s really a show designed for entertainment value rather than a “foodie” show as such. the most interesting episode is where the judges of the show offer the contestants a cooking demonstration, as this presents the opportunity to pick up a few tips.

The other night I tried their pureed broccoli dish (replacing the suggested cauliflower with broccoli which I had in the fridge) and it was remarkably simple to make and delicious.

However, when it comes to “judging” (and I use that term loosely), the contestant’s dishes, I wonder whether sometimes the judges criticism should be taken as seriously as they make out. Obviously, it all adds to the drama of the show, and clearly the judges’ opinions matter a lot to the contestants, but are food critics really the be all and end all of determining what makes a tasty meal and what doesn’t?

I read somewhere that someone once said that ” people who can cook – cook, those that can’t, write about others that can” (or words to that effect).

What do you think…?

18 responses to “Food Critics, should they be taken seriously or not?

  1. I enjoy Oscar Wilde’s Matt Preston’s column in the Weekend Age, which is really fun and informative, but he can seem like a bit of a toff on Masterchef.
    Maybe its the cravat. I don’t know. But I’m sure he’s a delightful chap.

  2. I personally think that food judges have very little relevance as after all everyone’s taste buds differ. I’m just a home cook, but do find that ‘cuisine’ starts to become very one dimensional..that is, how often can coriander used? I would like to see contestants become a little more daring with their choices of herbs, for example some of the old-fashioned ones such as mace and sage.

  3. You put ten people at a dish and you will get many different opinions. I think it comes to the food given while growing up, if youe experimental or not. Im a very fussy eater, my mate can eat an eyeball from a fish raw but get sick if he bits into a tomato. Simple food is also a choice of mine.

    By the way, this website has long been needed, youve only just opened it and i like it already.

    The cook and the chef is a big favorite of mine along with the over the top but funny ironchef.

    A while back on ABC they had a “aboriginal bloke cocking only with indiginous spices, that was fantastic if your camping, has helped me out many times

    • Hi Aquanut – thanks for your nice comment on the website. It’s just been developed this morning and I am already encourage and looking forward to more comments and contribution from a wide range of foodie people. Cheers.

  4. Thanks, Min. I could not agree with you more. We are all different. More interesting is that if a restaurant has a good review by a well known food critic, that means it has to be very good, right? So my partner and I will go and try out the food, and decide if we agree with the critics or not. We do not, however, always agree with the critics. Like you said, we all have our own tastes.

    Now about the coriander. Have you tried making coriander mint yoghurt? It is one of Stephanie Alexander’s recipe and it is beautiful served with roast chicken or almost any food.

  5. Hi Foodtrail..I’ve made similar, but this sounds very nice indeed. I’m lucky in that hubby is a very keen vegie gardener and currently have amongst other herbs and veg a thriving mint..must make some room for some coriander.

  6. As with aquanut, I agree, this is great..I’m mostly the cook at our joint as I’d rather cook than wash up ( and I can use heaps of woks,plates etc;), then sit back and have a wine while she clatters around in the sink,well not her, the mess I’ve made.
    Do you take questions?, you do, excellent. Your method of marinating meats so they melt in the mouth.( For Asian style cooking).I’m stuffing around with egg white ,Rice wine etc:and very quick cooking,seconds only (it’s mainly meat we process at home, ie; home killed,so mostly top quality)
    , and working out OK but, when all else fails, ask an expert :). Cheers LM..

    • Well you are lucky Lang Mack. I am usually the cook as well as the “dishwasher”. As for marinating my meat, I usually use a bit of flour (for a silky coating texture on stir fry), salt, soya sauce and sesame oil. I would leave my meat marinated overnight for it to tenderise.

      For steak, I like to marinate with oyster sauce, fish sauce, cooking oil, a touch of sesame oil. Leave overnight and pan fry the next day as medium-raw.

      • Great stuff, many thanks, I’ll do that tomorrow, we dressed out some milk tooth ,two tooth, a couple of weeks ago , I’ll send a report. (Not how I did it, the result)”As for marinating my meat, I usually use a bit of flour (for a silky coating texture on stir fry), salt, soya sauce and sesame oil. I would leave my meat marinated overnight for it to tenderise.”
        That corn flour or plain flour?
        We live in the bush, so everything is fresh or frozen, we hit town about every three weeks, we use Sesame oil, fish sauce, Oyster and etc’ a lot.( There is a standing order for a city dudes to bring up tins of Asian condiments, if they want to help me in the meat room 🙂 ) “For steak, I like to marinate with oyster sauce, fish sauce, cooking oil, a touch of sesame oil. Leave overnight and pan fry the next day as medium-raw.”
        Ok, I’ll give it a go(mumbles about a bloody good steak being…)
        Excellent Victor, thank you a lot.

        (Reb, how about a subject on ‘slack arsed partners,and why I’m one, cause and effect, you can do this while Victor is getting your brekky, Jeesh!)
        I’ll get angry over on ‘GT’.

  7. ..I’m mostly the cook at our joint as I’d rather cook than wash up ( and I can use heaps of woks,plates etc;), then sit back and have a wine while she clatters around in the sink,well not her, the mess I’ve made.

    Hi lang mack, aqua, reb and min (ross sharp, I really like that soup recipe mmm I love mushrooms), good to see you all here.

    Lang mack you sound just like my daughter’s b/f, he considers himself to be a bit of a foodie and is quite untrained in the ‘art’ of cooking. I’ve got to assert myself to cook something in my own kitchen these days which would be kinda nice except…

    I’m getting really tired of the huge messes he makes. Food mess on the floor and walls and splotches of food even on the kitchen cutains! Never mind the too many pots and pans used for the dish. The cupboard/fridge handles are sticky and I feel a need to wipe everything he touches over with an anti bacterial cleanser.

    I want to be encouraging and nurture this generous hearted man who ‘cooks with love’, but I find that all I want to eat is a toasted cheese and tomato sanger because the gourmet uses too much oil for my liking and too many clashing flavours and spices rather than simple and complementary ones. The mantra he uses is flavour, flavour, flavour but the flavour is just too much for me and very samey actually.

    I’m thinking of buying him a good quality recipe/food book which might help to educate him -any suggestions?

    Please help me victor!

    Well you are lucky Lang Mack. I am usually the cook as well as the “dishwasher”.

    You’d think that reb would help out a wee bit at home wouldna ye?

    • Kittylitter, that sounded so much like my partner in our kitchen as well. He cooks well, but loves to leave a trail of mess all over the kitchen bench, cooktops and floor (well, at least wee dog will help herself to the floor mess) for “you know who” to clean up and degrease.

      I cook mostly Asian food, so lots of flavour, yeap and flavour in my food. My partner cooked a lovely beef cassoulet dish on Sat night. It is simple and tasty. Maybe he can share his recipe here, as he won’t share with me.

  8. KittyL..wonderful to hear from you too. Maybe you can push Victor’s opinions a little..that is to politely suggest to daughter’s b/f that natural flavors are best. You know..let the natural flavors shine through….

    Maybe hey, X (daughter’s b/f) did you hear about the challenge? It’s to cook using natural foods and flavors..the lighter the flavor the better.

  9. Kitty 🙂
    ——–
    Something simple with heaps of flavour

    1 ltr of yogurt
    1 cucumber (diced)
    2 garlic (crushed)

    ——–
    Hey Min :d , hows that tree going?

  10. “he considers himself to be a bit of a foodie and is quite untrained in the ‘art’ of cooking.”
    Well,I declare .. cut one ear off I will. I’ll also have you ladies know that now we have a rice cooker, Mrs.L has returned the angle grinder back to the shed, oh, and what ‘mess’,ever seen a true ‘artist’ with a clean smock? eh… my kitchen is a studio, in fact .

  11. hehe lang mack,

    If you can cook as well as van Gogh paints then your ear served up for dinner just might taste OK (maybe not very filling though!).

    Aqua,

    mmm, tzatziki I like, thanks.

    (min) let the natural flavors shine through….

    I’m working on it min.

  12. Hello gorgeous ones (plural)..we now have over 15 Lilly Pillies. And they all love me..next year is jam. And how is the boat Aqua? [an aside, Aqua is almost in deep poo because he hasn’t written to his auntie Min for quite a while..but then I am a patient soul..mostly].

    It sounds as if Mrs Lang Mack and I might get along very well together, as I am a fair hand on a fly press and not too bad at soldering either.

  13. “If you can cook as well as van Gogh paints then your ear served up for dinner; Well may you wax on..
    “as I am a fair hand on a fly press ” so is she, least it get’s me out of the kitchen :).

  14. Thank you for article. It is very imformative read.
    I enjoy to read foodtrail.wordpress.com!

    teeth whitening new hampshire

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