Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic, has journeyed Down Under for a pair of events put on by that country’s massive Good Food Month festival. When Huffington Post Australia lifestyle editor Leigh Campbell asked about the current West Coast perceptions of the critic, Gold shared this funny anecdote:
“I am not going to mention the name of the restaurant, but there is a new, very good, very informal experimental place that just opened [in L.A] and I walked in a couple of weeks ago. One of the cooks ran back to the kitchen and everybody hid. Occasionally I’d see them peeking their eyes out to see if I’d left, and after 10 minutes they figured out that I was going to stay.”
Ha ha. Coincidentally, Gold’s latest published piece for the L.A. Times is all about a place in Beverly Hills watched over by an Australian chef that the critic could not get into. Under various aliases, he writes that he tried for a year and a half to obtain a reservation, but that it was only through friends that he finally was able to step through the discretely marked door of Curtis Stone’s Maude:
If you mention Stone’s name to a foodie in Melbourne, his hometown, they will not have tasted his food, but may break out into a bit of the jingle from Coles Supermarkets, an Australian chain with which he is associated as a pitchman as firmly as Martha Stewart used to be with Kmart…
Maude regulars, eager to see what Stone might do with figs or almonds, consider the restaurant’s monthly meals to be the culinary equivalent of season tickets to the L.A. Lakers or the ballet. As with Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game, you were either there for the whipped rhubarb with fresh marigold blossoms and cucumber sorbet, or you weren’t.
[Image via: goodfoodmonth.com]