Restaurant Critic Patric Kuh Comes Out of the Critic Closet

After 15 years of anonymity, why, now, I’m letting it go (and why I’m still not showing my picture here)

[A Note from the Editor:
Hi all. Before I turn this post over to Patric, I wanted to explain a few things, including why this page doesn’t come with a big fat portrait of Mr. Kuh himself. He’s not the first critic to “drop the veil of anonymity” and he won’t be the last. But I can say from experience that there’s a difference between jumping through hoops to keep one’s identity a secret, and just sort of laying low. While many have argued the reasons that complete anonymity is not only impossible, but also questionably necessary these days, I can also argue that there are times when being able to experience a restaurant in as “normal” a way as possible is priceless to one’s point of view. So, sure, anyone who wants to can now dig up (or better yet, purchase!) a copy of Patric Kuh’s new book and take a peek at the face that’s been guiding our dinner plans for the last 15 years. But we won’t be publishing his photo here, nor will you see his smiling mug beside his new, more personal monthly print column that we’ll be debuting this fall. Because this isn’t about headlines or some dramatic reveal—it’s about a writer, a chef, and a food lover who wants to continue to tell beautiful stories about the way we eat, just in a new way. And now, without further ado, Patric Kuh…
-Lesley Bargar Suter, Food Editor]

During the past 15 years I’ve worked as a restaurant critic at Los Angeles, I’ve strived for anonymity at every restaurant I’ve been to. The reason, of course, was so that I wouldn’t get special treatment; I wanted to experience the same level of cooking and service that anybody else might. But when you eat at a restaurant four times to get a comprehensive sense of the place, it’s probably inevitable folks figure out that the guy who entered under one of many names (Ron Nadell was a favorite) and often carried a newspaper (great for slipping a menu into) was actually a critic.

I can’t say whether any of those restaurateurs will even notice that there’s an author’s picture of me on the jacket of my new book, Finding the Flavors We Lost, but the timing seemed right for me to come out of the shadows.

Finding the Flavors We've Lost Book

Traveling around the country to write my book reminded me of the pleasures of interviewing people face-to-face, without worrying about whether someone will post my picture in a restaurant kitchen. The food scene has changed a lot since I began covering it, and I want to cover it in all of its splendor. I don’t plan on being any less opinionated, but I look forward to being able to sit down with a chef, cover an event, report on a trend, or even weigh in on an opening as a persona I’m going to learn to get used to: myself.

Read more about Patric Kuh’s new book, Finding the Flavors We Lost, here.