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Why This Chef Wouldn’t Serve a Dining Critic

Who is in the right?

Scott Crawford
Jessica Crawford

Late in the afternoon on Friday, January 27, Indy Week writer Emma Laperruque filed a post titled “Scott Crawford Refused to Sell Us a Plate of Food at Crawford and Son.” Laperruque covers food for the Research Triangle-based paper and informed readers that she would not be reviewing chef Scott Crawford’s latest Raleigh restaurant, because the chef would not allow it. The writer recounts meeting Crawford during her visit to the new eatry:

Though we had never met, he uttered my name as he approached the table—“Emma”—and suddenly, it all made sense. They had planned this. “We are choosing not to be reviewed,” he said. And he wanted the table back “for someone coming in here to enjoy the food.” “OK,” I said, and he headed back to the kitchen. My partner and I headed for the door. The host, who, moments before, couldn’t stop staring at me, now couldn’t look me in the eye.

Laperruque ponders if her past coverage of Crawford’s former restaurant, Standard Food, was to blame for the outing.

If you’re wondering what I ever did to Crawford? I am, too. But I have a guess: I did my job. I wrote about him. First, in my original Standard Foods review, when he was the chef (great concept, sometimes great food), and again in my re-review, after he left to open Crawford and Son (same concept, even better food).

After Laperruque posted her experience, Crawford posted an explanation on his restaurant’s website.

Based upon Ms. Laperruque’s previous coverage and her color commentary on appearances of the staff at Standard Foods, (irrelevant to the service and cuisine which is generally the focus of a review) I felt it was in the best interest of the Crawford and Son team to focus on our non-editorial diners, as I do not believe Ms. Laperruque has the professional experience to review the restaurant. We welcome the opportunity to be reviewed with constructive criticism, but do not feel that Ms. Laperruque’s tenure within the food community justifies her journalistic tone and her approach to covering Raleigh’s thriving culinary community.

According to her bio, Laperruque works as a baker in Durham and writes about food for Food52, Our State, and Indy Week. The commenters on the article seem to be split in favor of the critic and the chef. Can restaurants simply opt out of reviews?

Scott Crawford Refused to Sell Us a Plate of Food at Crawford and Son [Indy Week]
Scott Crawford Premieres Crawford and Son in Raleigh [ECHS]
Scott Crawford's Very Hip, New and Local Standard Foods Is Great—At Least When It Meets Its Own Standards [Indy Week]
Can the Reopened Standard Foods Thrive Without Its Star Chef? [IndyWeek]
Indy Week Response Letter [Crawford and Son]

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