Journalistic integrity or arbiter of taste? The case study of restaurant critic Peter Calder
Williamson, D; Goodsir, W; Neill, L; Brown, A
In these times of interactive IT it seems that ‘almost anyone’ has the potential to become a restaurant critic. However, with growing public interest in food and dining out, the opinions of dedicated food critics are important because they sidestep the opinions of friends, advertising and marketing, and can convince potential consumers to either participate voluntarily as customers, or avoid a potentially bad dining experience altogether. In light of this, our paper illuminates the critical perspective of Peter Calder, one of New Zealand's most well-known restaurant reviewers. The discussion reveals the style of review adopted by Calder, as well as his raison d’^etre. Because this paper reflects the views and opinions of a single research participant, its generalizability is limited however the research provides a ‘thick description’ of Calder's reviewing strategy. Calder's work is fuelled by journalistic integrity rather than a preoccupation with dining out or the hospitality industry. This makes Calder's perspective unique. This paper distils how Calder creates his narratives that have, over time, led to a loyal readership. This insight adds to our understanding of the importance of restaurant critics, and, within this case study, how critics view themselves.