Journalist Integrity or Arbiters of Taste: The Case Study of Restaurant Critic Peter Calder
Williamson, DD; Goodsir, W; Neill, L; Brown, A
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It is generally believed that the power of popular media is such that restaurants can be both positively and negatively impacted by the restaurant critic. With the growing public interest the opinions of critics are deemed important because they sidestep the opinions of friends, advertising and marketing, and yet can convince potential consumers to either participate voluntarily as customers, or avoid a potentially bad dining experience. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the perspective of Peter Calder, one of New Zealand’s most well-known restaurant critics, concerning establishing reviewer reliability, credibility and validity. The paper also discusses the style of review adopted by Calder and his purpose for reviewing. As the study reflects the views and opinions of a single research participant, Peter Calder, this research was undertaken by applying a qualitative research methodology and case study approach. It was found that Peter’s work is fuelled through his journalistic integrity rather than a preoccupation with dining or the hospitality industry. This makes Peter’s perspective and approach to his work unique. Consequently this paper distils how Peter creates his narratives that have over time created a loyal readership. This insight adds to our understanding of the importance of restaurant critics, and within this case study, how the critic views themselves.