Last month, The West Australian’s West Weekend Magazine food critic, Rob Broadfield (whom I lauded in a previous post), wrote a business-buster of a critique of the Little Cloud restaurant in Peppermint Grove. His review was so withering, I could have felt sorry for the chef were it not for three factors.
The first was this remark of Broadfield’s that so filled me with mirth that I had no room left for other emotions:
The salmon dish was like Tourette syndrome on a plate. Its many flavours and textures, none of them agreeable, were shouting and yelping away at each other in a cacophony of uncontrolled chemistry.
The second was the extreme arrogance of the 22 year old untrained chef (Mummy is backing her boy’s restaurant venture) in responding to Broadfield returning a dish that was cold by sending the waiter back with the message: “The chef is defending his right not to serve his food hot.” That sort of preciousness would be hard to forgive in a Michelin Star chef. In a big-headed junior in his first commercial venture, it is terminal.
And the third? The fact that this stove puppy’s fare is supposedly inspired by the Molecular Gastronomy movement (or ‘cult’, saith Broadfield).
Molecular Gastronomy, as Broadfield described it, is an eccentric fad that draws on chemistry and technology to push food beyond its natural constraints. Meaning?
At its weirdest, gels, foams and thin alginate casings that burst open on your tongue, releasing liquid carriers of flavours you’ve never dreamt of. Or at the less extreme end of the spectrum, bizarre and seemingly incongruent flavour and texture combinations that apparently work: for example, bacon and egg icecream – a signature dish on the menu of the famous Fat Duck restaurant in England, run by Molecular Gastronomy leading light Heston Blumenthal.
I hardly need confide, dear reader, that I reeled back with a sneer to shrivel the souls of infants. So perverse did I find this Molecular Gastronomy concept that I went to the bother of researching it further. And found – to my surprise – that Broadfield had undersold it!
To be fair, his focus was on the restaurant he was reviewing. He didn’t have space to elaborate on Molecular Gastronomy (“MG” from here on). And he did acknowledge that at its best it can be “clever, even life-changing.” But Broadfield’s dismissal of MG as a cult is not factually supportable. It is not even a food movement, as such. And it’s not a fad!
So what the bleedin’ hell is it?
Wikipedia provides as good a definition as any: a scientific discipline involving the study of physical and chemical processes that occur in cooking. The science behind cooking, in other words.
The origins of the term “Molecular Gastronomy” can be traced back to 1980, when it was coined by Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti at a conference that subsequently became known as the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery (now an annual event). Attendees at the inaugural Symposium included the revolutionary food/cookery writer Elizabeth David, whose books and articles acclaiming French and Mediterranean regional fare opened the stuffy kitchen windows of post-war Britain to a continental breeze that flushed out the boiled cabbage and potato blandness that had earned the place – quite rightly – the stamp of culinary philistinism.
Although its conception came long before, MG’s delivery as a discipline emerged out of a series of workshops in Erice, Italy, attended by scientists and professional cooks interested in investigating the science behind traditional cooking preparations and processes. The first of these workshops was in 1992; they were held regularly thereafter. The event was re-named “The International Workshop on Molecular Gastronomy” in 1998 and continued annually until 2004. No fad, then. And certainly no cult. This is serious science – the science of flavour!
Enough theoretical background. Boffins are one thing – but how does the theory translate to the table? At best, astonishly well, apparently.
Have a look at chocolateandzucchini.com, which has pics – copyright protected, unfortunately – of some weirdo MG-driven dishes and a good review of the El Bulli restaurant in Barcelona. The El Bulli’s owner and head chef, Ferran Adria, is legendary for his uncompromising avant garde creations and considered by the global high-end food mafia (ie: esteemed food critics writing for esteemed Euro and American foodie mags) to be “the best chef in the world”. Not sure what “best” is supposed to mean, but there you go.
Look, this high-end restaurant stuff doesn’t interest me much, to be honest. I’m curious, but not about to blow a fortune I don’t have on a plane ticket to sample the bizarro stuff at the Fat Duck or El Bulli. Actually, I’m about to unleash a nasty bitch of a post on high-end foodies and restaurants. My philosophy on food will accompany that little effort. Suffice it to say here that I’m in the Jamie Oliver camp – gimme big peasanty regional flavour over urban finesse every time.
That qualifier aside, why not use science in developing kitchen practices, in seeking out new flavours, flavour combos and textures that “work”, and in adopting new techniques in food preparation? Indeed, “chef scientists” have been active in the R&D departments of commercial food companies for many years. True, they have some abominations to answer for (supermarket “mayonnaise”, egg powder, instant mashed potato and “crab sticks”, for example). But science is not the villain. Shit, isn’t every cook a chemist of sorts?
Venture out of restaurant land a moment. Is there any place for MG in the domestic kitchen? Sure!
I’m not advocating home cooks letting loose their inner maniac. Blow-torched lamb spleen topped with sundried sardine chips, camel milk custard and whipped foam of Vegemite – no!
I’m suggesting that science may have a role in educating us in the kitchen. Cookery is folkloric in part. Ancestral secrets abound, recipes are passed on family to family – and indeed, this is part of the charm and romance of food. Long may its mystique live. But it must also be acknowledged that amongst the magic formulae are myths and old wives tales based on superstition and heresay. MG has busted some of these wide open. Here are some examples from Wikipedia:
And here are some more, based on empirical evidence I’ve accumulated over 35 years as a keen and committed home cook:
I could go on…
Finally, here’s a little sumpin’ to counter the assumption that MG-influenced food is always, inevitably and incontrovertibly weird – a recipe for perfect fried egg and chips from Mr Heston Blumenthal himself: click here. Must say, though, it does seem like a lotta muckin’ around when all you’re after is a good fryup.
For every El Bulli or Fat Duck, there’ll be a hundred Little Clouds. You know what they say about a little knowledge. For me, though, inviting science into the kitchen is no bad thing – as long as it doesn’t bring on an epidemic of fussy arty-farty finessing and food fondling from techno gadget-wielding pretenders masquerading as maestros. Nought kooky or pretentious about fried egg and chips, though, eh guv? Which reminds me, Elizabeth David – don’t say nuthin’ good came out of olde Brit cuisine!
PS: Ferran Adria has a book out that will be fascinating for anyone who wants some insight into molecular gastronomy. It’s a pricey $75 in Australia at the time of writing. Amazon has a much better deal (USD$32.97) – especially if you cut postage costs per item by ordering a few other books or CDs at the same time. Click on the link below to go straight to Amazon (I’ll get a small referral commission, and the price will be the same for you):
13 thoughts on “Molecular Gastronomy – Myth-busting and Matchmaking at Food’s New Frontier”
Rather than taking Mr Broadfield’s comments and simply re-printing them as gospel I suggest you actually do some research of your own and actually eat at the restaurant in question. My wife and I have on two occasions and simply loved it. Just because it’s in the West Australian doesn’t make it fact and I for one am highly suspicious of Mr Broadfield’s true motivation.
I noticed on their website that they have another snippet of the 6PR radio program where Mr Broadfield is also a critic. Doesn’t sound like any of those customers agree with him either! (www.littlecloud.com.au)
Firstly, I take exception to your patronising and factually insupportable charge that I took Broadfield’s comments and “re-printed them as gospel” – and that I took his opinion as fact “just because it’s in The West Australian.”
If you bothered to look through this blog you would note that I am a pretty loud-mouthed critic of The West and of the mass media generally. Actually, I think The West is a rag. Further, I’ve put several West writers to the torch: Mark Naglazas, Paul Murray, Pam Casellas and John Georgeff spring immediately to mind.
The only part of Broadfield’s review I “re-printed” was the quote likening the flavour combinations of one dish to “Tourette syndrome on a plate”. I have no idea whether this was accurate, but you’ve gotta give Broadfield marks for the similie! The humour of his use of figurative language was my point, not whether he was describing the dish accurately.
It might assist your understanding of the perspective and purpose of my post if you examine it a little more objectively, rather than simply going in to bat for the Little Cloud.
The focus of my post was not the Little Cloud restaurant or whether the damning review was justified – it was Molecular Gastronomy, a subject of far wider interest.
I must admit, though, I find it a stretch to imagine that a 22 year old untrained chef bankrolled by Mummy in his first restaurant venture, open for a few weeks at the time of Broadfield’s review, could successfully turn his hand to complex, avant garde food-as-art that master chefs like Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria have spent many years researching and experimenting with to the stage of accomplishment for which they are now renowned.
I suspect it far more likely that I would concur with Rob Broadfield’s asssessment. But unlike you, I have no agenda pro or contra the Little Cloud.
As I indicated in my post, unless it’s done exceptionally well, I have little interest in paying big bucks for high-end arty-farty food, so am not about to rush off to the Little Cloud to put Broadfield’s findings to my own test.
However, I am always open-minded and honest in my approach to food, and would be most willing to accept a complimentary meal at the Little Cloud and to post a review here. If Broadfield’s review was so jaundiced and inaccurate, perhaps another informed opinion expressed publicy by someone like me with a life-long food obsession (both as a consumer and a keen and competent home cook), would be in the interests of the Little Cloud and its owners.
Re your argument that a number of Little Cloud customers piped up on radio disagreeing with Broadfield – well, what does that prove? I have had enough bum restaurant recommendations from enough folk to dismiss the truth-by-numbers argument out of hand. Besides, after a serve as withering as Broadfield’s, wouldn’t it be sensible for the Little Cloud to go into damage control and call on everyone they knew to support them publicly at any opportunity? The customers who called into 6PR certainly sounded a little too partial to the restaurant fare, all raving, giving it 20 out of 20 (one twat gave it 21)…I mean, fair dinkum, when was the last time you went to a restaurant in Perth (where the general standard is shit) and assessed it as PERFECT? Either these guys are utterly undiscerning, or they’re positively biased. Oh, not to mention that they were all given free meals by the restaurant! This was plainly a PR exercise, no less!
Finally, I think it unethical of you to claim that you are “highly suspicious of Mr Broadfield’s true motivation” in criticising the Little Cloud. If you’re going to make slights on Broadfield as a pro reviewer (and the best informed and most credible reviewer in this city by a long way, in my view) to the effect that he was writing to an agenda extra to his role as a critic, you should come out and elaborate instead of hiding behind grubby implication as you have here. If you do not, your implication has no credibility, and neither do you.
Disagreeing with a reviewer is one thing – stooping to mud-throwing suggests retaliation as your motivation, which begs the question: precisely what is YOUR relationship with the Little Cloud?
Oh Rolan, you really can’t be serious. I have read through many of your blogs and I must admit to being somewhat surprised that you came back at me with such a ridiculous load of nonsense. I really would have expected more from you.
Hmmm, where do we start?
“I take exception to your patronising and factually insupportable charge that I took Broadfield’s comments and “re-printed them as gospel”
Really? I believe it is you that seems to have a few problems with the facts my friend. Let’s look at a few of your quotes from the original article and also in response to my comments:
“I suspect it far more likely that I would concur with Rob Broadfield’s assessment….”
“Re your argument that a number of Little Cloud customers piped up on radio disagreeing with Broadfield – well, what does that prove? I have had enough bum restaurant recommendations from enough folk to dismiss the truth-by-numbers argument out of hand”
Are you serious Rolan???? So ACTUAL customers you will dismiss “out of hand” but the one critic you will believe, re-print and embellish? But hang on, didn’t you say you weren’t taking his review as gospel? I’m confused…..
“….the extreme arrogance of the 22 year old untrained chef…. responding to Broadfield returning a dish that was cold……”
Again, sounds like you’re taking the critics words as gospel to me Rolan. Were you there? Did that actually happen? Or was it a bit of poetic license on Mr Broadfields part? Personally, I wouldn’t take his words as “gospel” as you obviously have. Yet you dismiss the actual customers on 6PR, six or seven I believe, who had an enormously different opinion from Mr Broadfield. Interesting.
“The fact that this stove puppy’s fare is supposedly inspired by the Molecular Gastronomy movement….”
So, after reading the review and being totally unbiased, never actually experiencing the food or service for yourself, and not wanting to re-print it as “gospel”, the chef now not only qualifies as a “stove puppy”, in your “qualified” opinion, the “fact” is “supposed”? My brain is starting to hurt trying to follow your logic Rolan.
“…. (Mummy is backing her boy’s restaurant venture) ….”
“….. I find it a stretch to imagine that a 22 year old untrained chef bankrolled by Mummy in his first restaurant venture….”
Hmmmmm, the recurring “Mummy” theme. Sounds like you have some deeper issues there Rolan. But that aside, how the hell can you decide, and publish, this nonsense without even visiting the establishment yourself? Seriously!? You have absolutely no right to spend 2 bucks on a paper, publish this rubbish and try to defend yourself.
And while we’re on a roll:
“That sort of preciousness would be hard to forgive in a Michelin Star chef. In a big-headed junior in his first commercial venture, it is terminal”
OK, so now Rob has you convinced this chef is a precious “big headed junior”….but you’re not taking his word as gospel?. Seriously mate, if you’re going to try to defend yourself by claiming I know nothing of your so called style, independence and vitriol of other West Australian writers, maybe it’s YOU that needs to be reading your own blogs, not me, because you’re making a total fool of yourself….
“If you’re going to make slights on Broadfield as a pro reviewer (and the best informed and most credible reviewer in this city by a long way, in my view)….”
And you’re questioning MY credibility?
“If Broadfield’s review was so jaundiced and inaccurate, perhaps another informed opinion expressed publicy by someone like me with a life-long food obsession (both as a consumer and a keen and competent home cook), would be in the interests of the Little Cloud and its owners.”
As I pointed out in my previous comment, there WERE informed public opinions, by people who have ACTUALLY eaten at the restaurant (unlike yourself), given on 6PR radio in response to Broadfields review. But you believe this to be a conspiracy between the restaurant owners and the radio station, who I might point out actually employ Mr Broadfield! Or maybe you believe that AVERAGE people aren’t as qualified as you or Mr Broadfield to actually have an opinion that counts. Come on Rolan, give me a break. Do you really think all of those people were part of a mass conspiracy by the owners and 6PR?
“…unless it’s done exceptionally well, I have little interest in paying big bucks for high-end arty-farty food, so am not about to rush off to the Little Cloud to put Broadfield’s findings to my own test”
I don’t even think that needs a response Rolan, I think you just proved my point for me.
In your own words, yes, I am “going into bat” for the Little Cloud” because it’s fools like you that perpetuate this crap without actually experiencing before passing judgement, reprinting trashy reviews in trashy papers, tacking on their own “expert” comments and passing it off as fact. To say I am LIVID at your utter disrespect and hack “journalism” is an understatement.
I am 57 years old and in that time I have eaten at some of the finest restaurants all over the world. I have absolutely NO association with this establishment, despite your slurs that I am an insider, but I for one applaud the Little Cloud and hope others will do as my wife and I have – leave this gutter journalism to the hacks and make up your mind for yourself.
Mind you, I’ll be surprised if you dare to leave this comment on your blog for others to read.
Oh please – you flatter yourself if you think I am bothered by your comments at all, let alone to the point of removing them. You’ve made a nana of yourself, so you can suffer the consequences. Your post stays!
Goodness me, though – bit old for a dummy spit like that, aren’t you Disco? You might do yourself an injury frothing and blathering like that. Strewth, if you haven’t matured beyond that sort of petulance at your relatively advanced years, you’re not due much respect – so you’ll have to excuse me for not giving you any.
Not much point attempting to engage meaningfully with someone who refuses to take up any of the points I made in my previous comment, or who has so little self-control that he resorts to silly (and unfortunately witless) personal insults. So I won’t bother.
Here’s a little lesson for ya: if you’re not capable of rigorous argument, at least make your flaming mildy amusing. Any fool can label someone else a fool. That doesn’t make it true, especially when the accuser has forfeited all credibility with silly stuff like namecalling, and mounting “attacks” with rhetorical blanks. When you’re operating on a low watt light bulb, a little wit goes a long way!
In getting so bent out of shape, you only demonstrate the veracity of my previous comments: that is, that you are too biased for objectivity and – as is now very obvious from your emotional outburst – have an agenda other than to comment on the guts of my post.
If, as you say, you have “no association” with the Little Cloud, why the emotional attachment to the place that is so blatantly evident in your bemusing dummy spit? Something is not adding up here.
I repeat, you have shown yourself up as unethical in hiding behind an unsupported implication that Rob Broadfield had some ulterior motivation in dissing the Little Cloud. Bit gutless, as well as unethical, to make defamatory claims like that under the protection of a pseudonym.
Now pop a valium and a beta blocker and take yourself off to bed with a hot chocolate, you poor, bilious old thing, you.
both of you need to get a girl and if you have one focus more on her (at least try working out your frustrations prior to getting on the web).
I am sick of paying top dollar for a meal and getting a pathetic serving.
I fear Little C will be a continuation of this short coming?
I will be eating at little cloud and i’ll let you both know how I find it. Until then focus those intellects on creating something rather than flexing you vocabularies at each other….. (ps Rolan wins)
Hello Marc C.
The only frustration here as far as I’m concerned is with people focusing on an incidental part of my post (the Little Cloud!), and ignoring the main topic! Sigh…
As for winning…well, vocab flexing was never the point for me (goddamned GM was!), and being judged the “winner” of a bout with poor old Disco Duck isn’t much of an accolade. Suppose you gotta take whatcha can get, though.
By all means, report back on your findings whenever you get to eat at the LC. Would be good if you could go a little further than “good/bad/indifferent” or variations thereof, though.
PS: Like your email name (sorry folks, you can’t see it).
PPS: How come you’ve put the Little Cloud website address as your URL? It seemed an inappropriate link, so I deleted it.
I have worked with Rob Broadfield and if the guy had any worse tallent he’d be working as Peter Russell clarkes cooking show groupie. The guy tries to mingle with the Dalkeith Crowd, but he cant quite get in he has attempted to put comments about both of my Neighbours Earl Hoffman and the Andersons. Its a bit like haveing a doctor claim he has a mansion. 9 times out of ten the residents dont refer to their homes as mansions. They dont want the attention and even though they may own a bentley, half the time you will see them drivng the old XF Falcon to avoid the attention such a car brings. Realisticly you cant take a RR or Bentley anywhere in perth without it getting damaged. Rob should stick to being a food critique, or maybe he should get transfered to the NT. I have on several occasions wanted to smack the guy in the head and he should stop trying to get with the in crowd cos he is just embarrassing himself everytime he tries to get in.
Any ‘worse talent’ (sic) at what, Clutters? Going by the standard of literacy you’ve demonstrated in your commment, you’re hardly in a position to assess Broadfield’s writing talent.
Maybe you’re referring to something else? Surely not his knowledge and understanding of food? He’s far and away the best of the food critics in this pissant city.
So, to what do you refer, sir?
Maybe you’re taking the mickey – I hope so, and just in case, hahaha..guffaw…funny bloke.
However, I highly suspect you’re an elitist turkey who actually believes that living in Dalkeith is some marker of superiority. It ain’t, chum. All it means is that you’ve got bucks…which in itself doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It’s HOW you got your bucks that counts…if bucks count at all, that is. You wouldn’t understand, but to some folk, like me for example, capital and asset value is waaaay down the list of what makes someone worthy of respect.
Can’t be bothered responding further to someone who still believes in a bucks and post code based caste system. You’re a sad anachronism.
Your a smart man Rolan, I just wanna say well done, I still think it is funny watching media types trying to get involved with us, and while my writing isnt the greatest – I did leave school in year 9 after doing a summer job in Dalkeith and deciding that having a 12 Bedroom house with a Garage for 18 cars was what I wanted. Ive achieved my goals and now im comfortable, at 27. I might even go back and finish High School, now that the house is paid off.
What really ticked me off about Broadfield or whatever his surname is, is that He shunned a disabled kid off because he wanted to say hello, at a charity party, Which in both of our books is plain rude. Who is the Elitist Pig now?
Then an Hour later he wants to do a story for his Inside cover section and wants to talk to me, and then tries to walk the walk and talk the talk. If it was about food then maybe he knows a thing or too, but I doubt that he would have any understanding of the concepts of how to improve the quality of life for disabled people when less than an hour ago the guy clearly looks like he doesnt want to know about them.
Bottom line, the guy is a useless middle aged bolding man who needs thick glasses cos he cant see past his own nose. If he was any better, he would be working for a bigger newspaper, why would someone with so much tallent waste it at the West Australian?
Anyway, your probably not going to respond so have a nice Christmas, and when your on the tourist boat on the Swan river and you see me watering the lawn, wave and i might just wave back. Im off now, Im heading to Africa, to do some volunteer relief work with the United Nations effort.
P.S I am a fan of your work. and In some ways I was taking the Mickey but I have to say everyone gets us Dalkeith types wrong, I still drive my first car a 1992 Ford Fairmont. I made my money in healthcare and I now spend my days doing Volunteer Work. Keep up the good work
Well, I have to respect that sort of self-made success, Shane. 27 and financially independent? Cheez, I’m in my mid-50s and still trying to work out what I want to do fer a livin’! (Copy-editing and writing skills are not valued much, that much I know).
Healthcare? MLM? Or started your own company?
Look, while I did recoil from your previous statements on the basis of the elitism I perceived in them, I am not the Broadfield fan I once was. He’s been getting on my pip for quite a while, to be frank. The pompousness and air of superiority that comes through his reviews arouses quite some contempt in me, I have to admit.
I don’t know enough about the circumstances you describe to have any valid judgment on the matter, but it doesn’t sound good from what you’ve written.
Why would I not respond, by the way? I welcome all comments, whether supportive of my views or contrary. And I can promise you one thing – I will never censor any comments simply because they are critical of me of my posts. That sort of shit is what you’ll get from the mainstream media blogs, and I do my best to differentiate myself from those wankers at every opportunity.
Anyway, ta v much for acknowledging my blogs, good on you for putting your energy into voluntary work for the disabled instead of simply seeking to pile more bucks on your already sizable cache, and all the best to ya for the festive period and the NY! Sincerely.
Rob Broadfield is a hack.
He panders to that Fake Food Elitism that is better known as Fine Dining Wank.
Many an eatery that has received a negative review from Broadfield is still in business… AND they have customers, many of them returning to eat there AND spend their $$$.
Now, if as Bob Broadbean would have us believe (from his The West Australian reviews) that Zafferanos, The Witches Cauldron and other dubious food eateries are flogging off dodgy cuisine, then these restaurants would have faltered and ceased to trade. They have not.
But who is Bob Broadbean?
He used to be a Chef.
He is now an overweight, bigoted, turd who would not ‘cut it’ anymore in any professional kitchen.
So he became the next worst thing, a second rate critic.
Want a real food critic?
Try a current, working, professional Chef.
Matt Moran, Luke Nguyen, Pete Evans, Kylie Kwong, Simon Bryant, Guy Grossi, Neil Perry, Alain Fabreuges, Karen Martini, Tobie Puttock, Gary Mehigan, Ed Halmagyi, Curtis Stone, Manu Feildel, Alastair McLeod, George Colombaris, Ben O’ Donoghue, Aristos Papandroulakis, Guillaume Brahimi, etc.
But seriously, why would any paying customer with a healthy appetite and without any intelligence disability trust the likes of Rob Broadfield or Matt Preston or Leo Schofield to tell them that any restaurant is this, that or not? Seriously? These culinary critics are journalists and/or ‘has-been’ Chefs.
Those that can, do…
Those that cannot, teach…
Those that bullshit, critique…
Hmmm. Thanks for your comments, Rob…but hmmm.
I share your view that Broadfield panders to food wankers. Further, as I stated in my post on him, the elitism that surfaces in his reviews pisses me off. In fact, he’s tumbled a long way from grace in my eyes since I wrote that piece.
I find myself sneering more than cheering as I read his reviews these days. His soaring public profile has gone to his head, and his writing has suffered as a result. He comes across as pompous and classist these days, and his wit seems more and more forced. His elitism shits me, but not as much as his desperate hipness. How many more times is this silly old fart going to haul out those try-hard rec drug references (eg: they must have been doing lines in the kitchen; this was like an acid flashback etc etc). Yeah Rob, we get it. You were a groovy guy back in the 70s and went through a bit of acid and coke. Like, wow. We all did. And yer glory days are long gone, so fuck off with that shit, pops.
Sad to say, that’s where our agreement ends, Rob old son. Most of the content of your comments is made up of ad hominem attacks devoid of wit. YAWN. I’m so sick of web warriors. You can only get away with personal attack if you’re funny – and you ain’t.
Let’s have a closer look at the basis of your attacks on Broadfield.
1. Many of the restaurants he’s dissed are still thriving. So? Since when is popularity any guaranteed gauge of quality? Have a look at the best-seller book lists. Or the Top fucking 40. (You’re not another Little Cloud family member, I trust?).
2. He’s no longer a chef, so has become a “second-rate food critic”. WTF? What’s being a chef got to do with food criticism? Do you have to be a movie director to write good movie reviews? Look at my brilliant efforts (;). I haven’t been near a movie camera (but I’ve studied film and been an avid movie-goer for 30 years – get the point I’m making?). Is it essential to have been an AFL footballer to comment astutely on football? Christ, some of the worst commentators of all time are ex AFL stars…eg: Jacko, Dougie Hawkins, and for those who remember – the worst of all, Don Scott!
As for your assertion that top chefs automatically make top food critics – are you kidding? Kylie Kwong’s an idiot (and an extremely annoying one), Guy Grossi’s an utter wanker who can’t get out of the way of his own massively inflated ego, Neil Perry’s barely literate (have a look at his writing on this comments thread). Ed Halmagyi? Hahahaha! That media clown’s not even a chef, surely. If he is, please warn me where his restaurant is. Manu Feildel? He can barely speak English, let alone write it! George Colombaris’s mangling of the language indicates a need for English classes, not a career in food reviewing…Need I go on?
Finally, that cliched NONSENSE you write about teachers is plagiarised from George Bernard Shaw, and is one of the most well-known and uninformed quotes of all time. Good teaching is itself an art and worth its weight in gold. And fine practitioners are often lousy teachers (anyone who has suffered through terms of shit lecturing by incompetent boffin ‘pedagogues’ at uni will vouch for that). Demeaning the worth of teachers in that silly and ignorant way is a permanent blot on GBH’s copybook. People who take that quote seriously and appropriate it themselves are in dire need of a credibility transplant.
Serve up yer comments with less bluster and more substance, s’il vous plait.