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Ruth Reichl on Conde Nast, Gourmet Live and online reviews

February 11, 2013|By Russ Parsons
  • Ruth Reichl dishes on a variety of topics.
Ruth Reichl dishes on a variety of topics. (Richard Drew /Associated…)

Ruth Reichl has always been fearless, as a restaurant critic, as a boss and as a friend. She'll tell you exactly what she thinks, good and bad. In an interview this weekend with the fashion website Daily Front Row, it's good to see nothing has changed. Writer Alexandra Ilyashov got the former L.A. Times and New York Times restaurant critic and former Gourmet magazine editor-in-chief to open up over lunch at Barbuto. Although, knowing Ruth, "getting her to open up" probably consisted of turning on the tape recorder and asking the right questions. Here are some highlights:

On Yelp: "Anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about."

And Zagat?: "I’ve always hated Zagat. If I’m going to listen to someone else’s opinions on restaurants, I don’t care if I agree or not. I just want to know who they are."

On working at Condé Nast: "I was privileged to have that Condé Nast life, right at the company’s most excessive and successful period. You paid for nothing! .... A car, hair, and makeup every morning at your house if you wanted it. When I traveled, I wouldn’t even know where I was going. My secretary would tell my driver which airport to take me to, and then she would hand me a folder with my itinerary.... I didn’t know money like that even existed before arriving at Condé Nast! It’s not real life, in some important way."

On the new Gourmet Live website: "I didn’t even look at it."

On her relationship with the food commerce website Gilt Taste: "It’s basically over now....We had a great audience, but there was a disconnect. The site is very successful, but not in the way we anticipated. It was very disappointing."

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