From the NY Times‘ Culture Editor to…its RESTAURANT CRITIC?!? I had to rub my eyes and read John Koblin‘s NY Observer article twice. Then I checked my calendar to make sure it wasn’t Apr. 1. This, apparently, is for real, art-lings.
Koblin quotes the staff memo from Times executive editor Bill Keller, regarding the designation of Sam Sifton to succeed Frank Bruni as restaurant critic:
It [Sifton's appointment] is eccentric because we are stealing one of our finest editors from
one of our most important departments. This is certain to be a cause of
anguish and anxiety in Culture, where Sam has run things with great
skill, imagination, energy and good humor [as well as with "a sugar cube and some ribbons"]….
We’ve set ourselves the task of finding a new Culture Editor….And we expect the anguish and anxiety to be
The career path works more logically the other way around: Raymond Sokolov had progressed from being the Times’ foodie-in-chief to a long, successful stint editing the Wall Street Journal‘s “Leisure & Arts” page. Now he’s back to his first love, writing the occasional WSJ food article and restaurant review.
Gee, and I had just discovered yesterday that Sifton is on Twitter (sort of )!
UPDATE: Gawker helpfully posts a variety of restaurant-critic disguises to preserve Sifton’s anonymity when he arrives at his fine-dining destinations. My favorite is the Ruth Madoff disguise (to preclude any favored treatment).