Denver Post food editor Tucker Shaw's column on Wednesday, full of no-name restaurant gossip, wouldn't have seemed so startling if the paper's food section regularly ran restaurant news calling out offending culprits -- but it doesn't. So we couldn't figure out the point of his mishmash of blind, unsourced items that wouldn't get past editors in other parts of the paper. And we weren't the only ones who were scratching our heads...
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Several chefs and restaurateurs were equally befuddled, including Leigh Sullivan-Guard, who co-owns TAG, TAG|RAW BAR and Madison Street with her husband and executive chef, Troy Guard. In fact, Sullivan-Guard was so taken aback that she crafted a letter to Shaw, taking him to task for his "Blind taste test of questions about Denver's dining scene," in which he asks -- but doesn't answer -- everything from "Which restaurateur spends hours a day obsessing about his competition -- while his own business wanes?" to "Which food journalist appears to have invented -- er, exaggerated -- many of her credentials?"
Herewith, Sullivan-Guard's unedited letter.
An Open Letter to Tucker Shaw, food editor of the Denver Post:
Tucker...we have a question for you: Which Denver food editor, in an effort to increase readership, shamelessly turned on the industry he makes a living from by printing irresponsible "blind items" in his Wednesday food column?
The answer is egregiously simple.
With one downright mean-spirited blog post, you've managed to stab Denver's food scene in the back. While others in our industry are working their collective butts off to display to the rest of the country that Denver is a first-class food city, you've decided to trash our efforts in a half-hearted gossip blog. What you wrote just doesn't make any sense. Why would you decide to drag our industry down when we're all working so hard to lift it up? Sure, food journalists are supposed to comment on the dining scene in which they live -- it says so in the job description -- but what you wrote in Wednesday's "A Blind Taste Test of Questions About Denver's Dining Scene" was uncalled for.
You're the food editor of Denver's only major daily newspaper, and while we in Denver know there are several excellent food writers in our city, those in much larger markets also look to you to get a snapshot of our food scene -- and you've just failed us miserably. In one fell swoop, you've managed to insult and discredit all of the hard work we've been doing over the years. We might have expected this from you in 2001 -- but in 2011? Times have changed, Tucker. Haven't we evolved beyond this level of irresponsible commentary? Shouldn't we all be working together?
Instead of insulting the men and women who work tirelessly to give you something to write about, how about asking questions like these?
Which amazingly talented Denver pastry chef just returned from New York, where she baked at the James Beard Awards Gala?
Praise for Yasmin Lozada-Hissom and her talents might be a better way to spend your time rather than questioning another food journalist's credentials.
Which hard-working Denver chef went to Kentucky to cook at Taste of the Derby, where funds are raised to help fight hunger in America? Chef Troy Guard does events like this on his own dime -- and was back behind the line at TAG on Friday night, the evening before the Derby.
Which of Denver's brat-pack of dandy-fied mixologists joined together at this year's Chef's Up Front to donate their time and talents to raise money for Share Our Strength? The COBG does numerous charity events each year and raises an exceptional amount of money for non-profits. You may think another bar's martinis are better, but why insult a group of young go-getters who are trying to do good for their city?
How many times can one restaurant critic espouse the word "egregiously" in his online column? We know the answer.
Tucker, you may think you're just entertaining, but believe us, no one in the industry found Wednesday's article remotely amusing.