Testing Chefs

How Do Restaurant Critics Work?

Restaurant and hotel critics: gourmets envy them, chefs and patrons fear them. Many readers rely on their tips, but hardly anyone knows how they work. From a hamburger joint to the hottest singles bar, to the gourmet temple, scarcely any restaurant is safe from culinary criticism. Whether the guides are published by Michelin, Varta or Gourmet, whether they award stars, chef’s hats or spoons, they all claim to be the most serious, the widest read, the most competent. But these testers shun publicity like thieves avoid the spotlight. They work anonymously, they say. But is everything really so honorable? We observed culinary critics while they were testing: How are stars given to kitchens? What influence do testers have on readers and on chefs? Who are the scene’s black sheep, puffballs and truffle sniffers? Must it always be caviar, truffles and lobster, or may one also be served roast beef with onions and bay? We also turned the tables and asked Germany’s best chef, "Who is for you the best culinary critic?" You’ll find the answer only in "Zeichen der Zeit".

Press Reviews:

Frankfurter Rundschau:
Faltin tickles some sharp bites out of chefs.

Neuer Züricher Zeitung:
More than one goose gets cooked in this film.

Schwäbische Zeitung:
We see critics, who in their arrogance and self-aggrandizement, utter the silliest nonsense about the meals they have just enjoyed - nausea a la carte.

Produced by

SWR

A film by

Sigrid Faltin

Year

2000

Running time

45 min.

Team

  • Camera: Werner Schmidtke, Ingalena Klute, Ingo Behring
  • Sound: Steffen Breitling
  • Editor: Renate Nebe

„We produce documentary films - it's real life that interests us.“
Sigrid Faltin, white pepper films

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