The recent announcement that Michael Bauer the San Francisco Chronicle’s Restaurant Critic, is retiring sent cheers and head scratching throughout the Restaurant and Foodie Communities. Those who mortgaged their homes to go to Culinary School to open a restaurant preparing their grandmother’s recipes, only to be trashed before they were even able to get in a “groove” cheered! Those that don’t read newspapers anymore scratched their heads and said “Who?” Michael Bauer was been both feared and revered during a Golden Age that catapulted the Bay Area into being one of the true Food Capitals of the world. The weekly Restaurant Review was important Breaking News for Food Lovers. Generally, it was the first time anyone had heard of the Restaurant, so the impact was truly important. In fact, Restaurateurs had told us that his Review could make or break you!

Then times changed with websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Open Table reviews mitigating the influence. Those “Angry Yelpers” made Michael Bauer’s criticism appear mild. Then came Bloggers, followed by Tweeters, Facebookers , Instagramers and more social media. Everyone with a Smart Phone is now taking pictures of food and posting which is really fantastic but sadly it feels like we have lost our true food icons aka villains like Michael Bauer and others throughout the Country.

Where do we go from here? The Chron is searching for the next Michel Bauer. Good luck as they never found the new Herb Caen (Who?). Surely there will be more great writers who will replace the old guard with their precise criticism of cuisine but the days of the Food Critic having too much power is over. Retire in peace Michael Bauer and rest easier Restaurateurs as the “Big Bad Wolf” in the Bay Area is leaving the Building.


Carol & Joe Davis

Dining Detectives