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Buffalo News restaurant critic reveals all

How do you calculate your ratings?

How do you feel about the impact your review has on the restaurant you're reviewing?

What will it take to get suburban diners to come downtown for dinner?

What do you think of Yelp reviews?

As The Buffalo News restaurant reviewer, I address those questions and more on a Grain of Salt podcast, in a conversation with Christa Glennie Seychew and Donnie Burtless.

Christa Glennie Seychew is the food editor of Buffalo Spree magazine, organizer of live cooking competition Nickel City Chef, and all-around booster of Buffalo restaurants, farmers and producers. Donnie Burtless is Buffalo’s leading restaurant blogger, proprietor of

Here's part of my explanation of why I don't do much socializing with chefs:

I love artists. I love the artistry of it. But I can’t buy into the heart and soul of a chef and write objectively about his food. If you are desperately in love with a cook and they make you something, that’s going to taste better.

Seychew: You really think that?

Absolutely. How does love not alter the taste, if somebody made you some eggs or something? And here’s the problem with that. It’s OK to be in love. It’s OK to love someone you love’s eggs.

The problem is that my function is supposed to be delivering actionable intelligence to readers of The Buffalo News. And if they never got a chance to fall in love with that chef the way I did, they’re going to come and get that dish, and say: “Yeah, it’s eggs. I don’t get your point.”

Also revealed: where I eat when I get the rare chance to dine for pleasure, not business. For a hint: see the featured image.

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