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A 'Secret Document' Tracks D.C.'s Food Writers

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Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

It's no secret that restaurateurs try to keep tabs on whether a critic has visited their restaurant (some even have photos of critics hanging in the kitchen). One person has gone even further, writing up a detailed document about the city's food writers and critics that has reportedly been circling for the past two years or so.

Washington City Paper published the document in its entirety today, and spoke to its author on the condition of anonymity. The story does not say whether the person is a restaurateur, but he is a male who previously worked in politics. From the document:

The relationship between writer and restaurant has also changed dramatically and it is important for us to recognize the faces, likes, dislikes, writing and personal styles of those who cover our business. The relationship goes two ways: They need stories to cover and we need the coverage to promote our various ventures. The relationship need not be antagonistic, but it is important to remember that many of these writers hold outsized influence over our livelihoods, and we need to ensure the best experience possible when they patronize our business.

Critics Tom Sietsema (Washington Post), Todd Kliman (Washingtonian), Ann Limpert (Washingtonian), and Tim Carman (Washington Post) and food writers Jessica Voelker (formerly of Washingtonian), Anna Spiegel (Washingtonian), Missy Frederick (Eater), Jessica Sidman (Washington City Paper; she wrote the piece) and Joe Yonan (Washington Post) are given detailed writeups, while other writers such as Jeff Dufour and Fritz Hahn are mentioned as well. There is also a brief discussion of the blogging community.

The dossier of sorts includes photos of each writer, though City Paper did not publish them. It attempts to detail the writers' food knowledge, likes and dislikes and other identifiable information, allegedly based on the author's personal interactions with the individuals. The document has a straightforward tone, though ventures into opinion (Sietsema, for example, is described as having an "adroit writing style that can be very critical and often ventures into the territory of cruel"; Limpert is one of "the most reclusive of those in the food world," according to the writeup).
· This Secret Document Helps D.C. Restaurants Keep Tabs on Food Writers [WCP]