Rosewood Tavern Owner To Critics: If You've Never Worked in a Restaurant, I Don't 'Want To Even Listen to What You Have to Say'
George Abou-Daoud is the owner of a string of restaurants that stretch from Hollywood to the Fairfax District — and a critic of restaurant critics.
After panning the Rosewood Tavern (and just ahead of the opening of Township Americana Kitchen & Saloon), LA Weekly caught up with Abou-Daoud for a Q&A. They talked about his restaurants and how he thinks restaurant criticism should work:
And I'm also not fond of people who don't have any formal culinary skill, or food reviewing skill, and then jump into it as though that's something that they're a professional at. If you've never worked in a restaurant, don't be a judge of a restaurant. If you've never done any other trade, if you've never done that thing, you're not allowed to criticize it. You should have done that, you should do something in your life, and then you can go back and gauge it. You can be an announcer in the NFL if you've played football before. If you were involved, or you coached football. If you're involved in that realm, and you've done it, then feel free to criticize, because you know what it's all about. But if you haven't, if you've never owned a restaurant, if you've never run a kitchen, you've never been at the top of that, in doing a restaurant? Then I don't even want to even listen to what you have to say.
Just wait until Abou-Daoud hears about Yelp!
The Weekly pushed him on this point and he backtracked a little bit:
I feel like, if you're a critic, then you should either have extensive knowledge of the subject matter, or have done it before. If you're a critic. Because that's what you're doing. So if you're going to criticize, then know what you're talking about. On all levels, and in detail, and back it up. I realize there are some food critics who haven't worked in restaurants, but they do really, really understand food.
It's fair to ask restaurant critics to understand what they're reviewing. But is it necessary for someone to have firsthand experience running a restaurant in order to point out that the food might not taste great or that it's overpriced in comparison to similar places? And is Abou-Daoud allowed to criticize a critic if he's never written a food review?