When Restaurant Critics Screw Up

Food writer Ryan Tate, on his blog Covers, catches Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel in a big boo-boo.

The article in question, titled “A $3,000 Taste of Vegas,” is a fairly obnoxious recounting of how Vettel has $3,000 to spend on four days of dining in Las Vegas (“I suffer for my art,” he says, making me want to smack him). According to Phil, this translates to “about $2,000 for chefs Robuchon and Savoy, and $1,000 for everybody else.”

The article is fairly vapid, doing little to deepen anyone’s knowledge or appreciation of the dining scene in Las Vegas (the takeaway: In Las Vegas, high-end dining is expensive—oh, and food critics are lucky and obnoxious). But as Tate points out, Vettel really puts his foot in his mouth when he writes that “brothers Thomas and Hubert Keller have Sin City outposts.”

That would be (American) Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se, and (French) Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys. Brothers? Amazing!

It’s hard to imagine a professional restaurant critic making such a mistake (come on, Phil. They don’t even look alike).

Perhaps he should have spent a small fraction of that $3,000 on a decent fact-checker.