What the . . . What on earth is all that racket?
Oh! It’s just someone scamming Wine Spectator magazine out of an Award of Excellence. Oh, didn’t you hear? Everyone’s talking about it. And by everyone I mean – Epicurious, the Boston Globe, New York Magazine’s Grub Street (no less than 4 times in the past 2 days) and the Diner’s Journal at the NYTimes.
Yes, this year, the award was given to a restaurant that does not exist.
And these people went to some trouble with it, creating user profiles for Chowhound, posting about their experiences at a fictitious restaurant, etc. I’m not sure what was accomplished beyond the “Gotcha!” factor and the wailing and gnashing of editorial teeth on the mags forums. But I am still entertained – especially since it now explains a lot about their – in my opinion – flawed selection process. They don’t actually, ya know, GO to the restaurants. I can see not going to every one that nominates itself but come on – once you’ve got it narrowed down, surely the actual wine should be experienced and in context of the restaurant. Yes, that might incur expenses but apparently the magazine collects $250 or so from every entrant so why not use that?
edited to add: Robin Goldstein, perpatrator of the whole scam, can talk about doing this as part of an academic investigation but I’m sure the fact that it is boosting book sales comes into play as well.