I spent some time looking into this and decided to share some insight since most of the comments seem to be based only on the Indy spin and really only part of the story. As it turns out, the whole theme of the article is just silly, attention grabbing BS. The writer knew exactly why Crawford chose not to be reviewed by her. You see, Crawford sent a very professional letter to her editor long before this article was written explaining his choice. The readers and commenters have been a bit duped here. After reading comments on other forums and social media, it appears Crawford is not the only chef in the area food scene questioning the writers qualifications. He is just the only one to say "no thank you". Although, I have a feeling she will hear that much more often going forward.
Now lets get real for a minute on some of these comments. I saw things like "flash in the pan, mediocre, lazy, food fraud etc. It would seem that some 1 post wonders might have a vendetta here? Does anyone actually believe that those are words that describe a chef with a 20 plus year career, three mobil 5 star achievements, four James Beard nominations and hundreds of articles and accolades? Someone with an axe to grind also made the irresponsible and inaccurate statement that Crawford doesn't care about the community. Guess what folks, while that commenter was busy being a keyboard crusader, Crawford spent his time prepping for a charity event that he is involved in tomorrow. Yep, the same weekend that some anonymous poster called him names, he donated his time, resources and day off to his community. I'm all for reading different opinions but uninformed comments are irresponsible and the name calling comments are clearly personal, opportunistic and ridiculous.
Lets set the record straight, yes I know Chef Crawford and yes I am probably biased, but I do know the real scoop. Crawford is a successful business owner in your community who busted his butt to open his own restaurant, he is an amazing leader and mentor with an incredible team he considers family, he is a culinary artist who cares more about food than any of us will ever understand and he spent 20 years of dedication to building his brand. He has certainly earned the right to say "no thank you" to a food reviewer with questionable tenure from a publication that he doesn't trust to be responsible. In the end Indy just proved him right. They ran a sensationalized victim story with half the facts and allowed irresponsible commenters to go unchecked and unchallenged.
Guy comes across as a bit of a coward to me. If your confident in your skills why would afraid to show them off. If this person gave him a less than flattering review at his previous spot that should be incentive to do better not turn your back and run!
Indy doesn't just review restaurants. They have a prerogative and they get their rocks off by insulting businesses and the people who work in them. I think it's great he chose to not be written up in such a sad publication.
that gibson sg looks just like the one BIG BOY HENRY use to play. wish i could get to chapel hill tonight, i would like to hear it
Scott Crawford is a great chef, a thoughtful human & an inspiring leader. Review or no review, Crawford & Son will be a favorite in the Triangle's dining scene for a long time.
A Moveable Feast:
First off, chef Crawford, by law, has the right to refuse service to anyone as his restaurant is on private property. Further, it is his prerogative to decide if he wants to be reviewed or not. Believe it or not, there are some restaurateurs who do not wish to be reviewed: while it has become status quo for journalists to write flowery, Faulkner-esque prose when describing restaurants for their reviews except that they focus less on the culinary side and "show off" their desires to be architects, art historians or psychologists--and in some cases, these self-proclaimed "culinarians" think that because they have been to Paris, or eaten at Alinea (or some Top 50 restaurant of the world list) they are qualified to potentially condemn someone else's livelihood; potentially ruin a man (or woman) and his/her family simply because the brown butter isn't brown enough?! It makes perfect sense that some would NOT want their story told by a person or persons with minimal credentials, a bone to pick or perhaps a conflict of interest (i.e., this business is an advertiser, "...make it glorious.."). Not to mention, that human error happens; Murphy's Law exists; EVERYONE has an off day. Should it it be THAT day when our whole world is exposed to ink, paper and/or keyboard?
Even if that wasn't the case, these reviews should tell the reader what is at the essence of the food experience and not spend the majority of a 1000 words dedicated to the Corinthian vs Doric columns or the post-Renaissance meets Shabby-shic wallpaper or spend an instant using the term "hipster." Who cares about tattoos or presumed egos? i surely don't. I thought we were trying to steer away from labeling and stereotypes.
I like to digress.
So, I will do some more of it. I don't read restaurant reviews. I don't write them either. When I travel, I find friends who live there or have been there and their recommendations are where I eat, where I sleep and where I go for adult beverages. I have never chosen a restaurant because it is the #1 on WELP, scored highly on Urbanspatula, FaceGram or the other social network sites out there.
I prefer reading the classics. My favorite writer is probably Hemingway. Sadly, he is not with us any longer...but that doesn't matter because he wouldn't have written or read restaurant reviews because there is more fun in living: catching fish, running with bulls, drinking Hemingway Daiquiris to spend on such trivial things. I like to think that his "review" would have been simple: he would have been a patron or he would not have.
But what do I know?
I am a little torn here. I think with or without food critics a restaurant will live of die on its own merit. That merit is some combination of food quality, price and ambiance (to me at least). Raleigh has so many options, that if you don't nail down a niche, then you won't survive. So having said all that, I think anyone trying to make a successful go around here almost has to be kind of a jerk. I don't know Scott, but regardless of how put off the critic might feel, I don't think the food critic should overplay her role in the restaurant world, and neither should she lose empathy for the hard work that goes into making these endeavors work. I expect the lynch mob to get me here, but I think AC restaurants are very overrated. The food quality to price ratio is way out of whack. Ashley herself is a wonderful human being and her staff are well trained, so the quality/cost gets swallowed up in hype. Scott pisses off one person, and all of sudden anything he touches is dirty. The Indy, and the Raleigh food scene in general, is the big fraternal circle, that you either get to party with and within, or you are an outcast with no apparent credibility. Empire Eats has been cast out of this circle e.g., after the drunk town stuff went down. Relax folks, and look in the mirror.
So, chef objects to reviewer because a previous review he "feels" the focus was too much on the restaurant and staff and not enough about the food. Hmm. Seems to us like the reviewer has a responsibility to review the restaurant as a whole. If staff dress and behave like Sideshow Bob and the place smells like feet, fish, and ramen then that should be reported to the public. Sounds like chef would be better suited to a food truck rather than a brick and mortar establishment.
@Brian Howe. Appreciate you taking the time to listen and respond. Civility is a bayonet in these days of blunt rhetoric.
He's an egotistical, mediocre, lazy cook who pays his PR lady very well to keep the hype up. His tenure at Standard Foods was merely a stepping stone to his own place. He abandoned the SF concept, manipulated the masses and rarely even cooked a meal there. Oh and His food is unimpressive to say the least. He could care less about the community, only the chance to be famous. He stayed in Raleigh just for that reason alone, less big fish to compete with here.
Also choosing to not be reviewed isn't an option for an owner but when he has a PR person who controls his media, the thought of the truth or one negative word being uttered, panicked him.
As for the writer, I'm glad the truth about this hotheaded, flash in the pan, food fraud is starting to emerge. It's only a matter of time before the hype fades.
@Justin Scranton, I would say that the fact that we did this story does not mean we aren't also doing stories such as you describe. That said, I'm hearing you expressing what you want most from our coverage, and I take it to heart. Thanks for being reasonable and constructive in your comment.
She didn't say "young girl."
The reviewer lost my respect completely when she resorted to calling herself a "young girl" while recounting her unfavorable version of what happened. Manipulative move on the reader and disrespectful to women of all ages. After this, I can't take this person seriously in her professional capacity and have no interest in reading anything she has to say about the food community.
Definitely interested in making one my very own home. Have the money and land. Richland nc Heather
Read and learn:
Let's not forget that Crawford was a Beard semifinalist, and not a winner, for a reason. He's one of the new breed of chefs who puts out mediocre food and proclaims himself a genius. A restaurant that has great food, but lacks in ambiance, service and the quality of the staff is a mediocre restaurant. Scott plays diva in the kitchen and ignores the front of the house, and it shows. Like his past ventures, Crawford & Son will have a short shelf-life.
There seems another side to this that we aren't hearing about. I will offer a suggestion to the food critic: Readers don't enjoy hearing perceived reasons why restaurant employees are dissing the critic or giving them too much or too little eye contact or bad vibes. That is just weird. It sounds like a secret shopper wanted to slip in under the radar to 'catch' people doing bad things then tattling on them with a written piece of none sense. Why not respectfully introduce yourself instead & rate your service & the food accordingly. The drama I just read was a waste of my time & sounded ridiculous! It did spark curiosity & will plan to dine at Crawford & Sons next time I am in the area.
I would asked that my future representatives show no interest in partisan politics and actually no longer have a majority nor minority in the General Assembly. Any ties that happen in the voting process would be settled by a revote, once then twice. Should a tie remain, the bill is then tabled until next year. My coldest regards for politicians that put their party over the people.
I have an honest question. First, I really respect that you are doing your job as a food critic but at what point does Indy Week need to recognize the extraordinary times we are living in and not publish an article that reinforces the very essence of the white privilege that led us to this precipice? There was a time--in my life--where the Indy was a source of real news in the Triangle. It was where I learned about being progressive. Now, it seems, there are more ads and fluff than stories worth reading. I am sure many would enjoy a hot take on Mr. Crawford's food but aren't there real food and beverage stories out there that need to be told? Aren't Raleigh's homeless and hungry being forced out of downtown so we can make more room for affluent young, white people? Didn't NC just get called out for its continued support of the Tobacco industry? Why do we still buy our liquor from a state run agency that surely violates NC prohibition of anti-trust laws? I actually like your writing (quite a bit) but just wish the Indy Week would have a stronger voice on real issues instead of the constant stream of how the gnocchi paired with the foraged mushrooms.
Agree with Kander 100%. If you're a chef or a musician or any creative figure putting your work into the world, you are subject to any kind of critical attention whether positive or negative that comes your way. You don't get to control what the press says and doesn't say about you (resisting the urge to make political statements here). You don't get to pick and choose who reviews you and your work. It's hard to imagine someone like Ashley Christensen or Andrea Reusing come out of the kitchen, during service, to out-and-out refuse service to a member of the press. Sounds like this guy's ego has gotten the better of him.
And using the writer's previous work as a litmus test for whether she's "allowed" to do future reviews is not how this works, either. That's a cop out if I've ever seen one.
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