Danyelle Freeman, food blogger Restaurant Girl, has been tapped to become the New York Daily News' next food critic. As many an Eater commenter has remarked, the only problem is that Freeman—an alumna of both Harvard and Duke, as she notes on her website—can't write. She cadges free meals from PR people—and she's oft-photographed and therefore never incognito. She also closes her correspondence with, "Until we eat again." She can be thought of as the Julia Allison of the food world: Cheaply attractive, ethically limber and relentlessly successful.
Freeman has been accused of shilling for restaurants—she denies it. But her response to the clearly troubling fact that everyone knows what she looks like (she played Maria Giaculo on the Sopranos and plasters her face everywhere she can) isn't reassuring.
I want to give chefs and restaurants their best opportunity to communicate a vision. Restaurants aren't running out to grab different ingredients or a new chef simply because you're recognizable. Besides, let's be honest, everyone knows what Frank Bruni looks like. There are photos of him in every important kitchen in NYC.
Yeah—grainy blown-up photographs taken six or seven years ago, when Bruni was about 30 pounds heavier. (That Rome posting was carb-heavy!) The truth is that Bruni doesn't get recognized the moment he first sets foot in a restaurant.
Perhaps the most succulent morsel in this sordid story of sex, fame and food is alluded to by the 27th commenter on the Eater post, who asks, presumably of Eater editor Ben Leventhal but maybe also of Eater publisher Lockhart Steele, "Isn't this your girlfriend?" We asked—denials were uniform and believable. But hasn't science shown that this is exactly the type of things dudes lie about?