First the review, then the preview party

After 27 years in this business, I’m not often totally gobsmacked (astonished/amazed/shocked, yes). But this week, dangerously late on a column I could not be late on again, I resorted to the last resort of desperate freelancers and hit a PR agency with a blanket request: HELP, find me a notable chef with three or four bits of advice to offer. Sure, sure, came the answer. And at the end of the day, I got exactly one quote from some obscure idiot that read like an outtake from a particularly cretinous episode of one of the cleaver-rattling shows on the teevee. I wanted to hit reply with: “This is a joke, right?” Instead I moved on, more confident than ever that dinosaurs are languishing between chefs and reporters. Surely those scores of restaurants could be putting those fat fees to better use. Maybe not coincidentally, my consort and I were just at a party where the photographer host was lamenting the shutdown of all the photo agencies that once marketed his work for a percentage. As I pointed out, why do you need the middleman in the age of the internets? One day, probably soon, a restaurant with a high-profile flack will be like a website with annoying music.