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Chef Turns Tables, Challenges Food Critics to Cook

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Chef Turns Tables, Challenges Food Critics to Cook

A chef in Canada has challenged food critics to cook a special dinner at one of his restaurants, in an attempt to close the gap between kitchen and dining room.

Edmonton chef and restaureteur Paul Shufelt wants to stage a 150-cover “Eat your Words” dinner in the new year in aid of the Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta charity, and has invited local food critics to particpate, according to CBC News. The three-course meal would be served to the public and picked apart by a panel of judges.

“Who are these people given the privilege of sharing their opinions about our city's restaurants?” says Shufelt. “What experience or training do these experts have? Have they spent years on their feet, repeating basic techniques over and over again, in hot, dark, cramped quarters, while angry chefs bark orders at them? Have they gone to cooking school? Are they decent home cooks? There was a time when the craft of being a food critic was highly regarded and feared. There was honour in the process.”

Despite these strong words, Shufelt says he wants the dinner to be a fun affair and to bring the two parties together: "As much as I'm a chef, I don't envy the job of food critics … they have a tough gig. More often than not, they end up being the bad guy,"  he says. However, he says there is a real problem with food critics that aren’t qualified to do the job in the city, despite his current restaurant, the The Workshop Eatery, being on the end of some very favourable reviews.

So far, no one has taken him up on his offer, though a few food critics have “expressed interest.”

Chef Tom Sellers had this response to a negative review

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