In my career as a sommelier Ive been specifically named in restaurant reviews three times. Thankfully all of them positively, but none more glowing than the review we got from Victor Lewis Smith published in the Independant on New Years day back in 2005. It was a tense time for us, because I managed to identify him when he turned up for his reservation on a quiet night back in October, we then anxiouly read review after review that was published as he slated his way across the country savaging several restaurants in the process. After a while self-doubt kicks in and you wonder what trauma will befall us. When the review came out, we couldnt have asked for a better write up, and my name came out quite glowing (ego alert!!).
Skip forward nearly two years and he returns, this time he is staying in the hotel. This time we are prepared, but this time its a busy saturday night, a totally different circumstance to his last visit. The thing with journalists/reviewers/critics, is that you can never be too sure if they are on business or pleasure. After all they are people just like us, they have anniversaries, birthdays, hell sometimes they just dont want to cook. But I think that where a lot of people sometimes go wrong is to focus all your attention on them at the expense of everyone else. Classic mistake, because a good inspector/critic/reviewer will notice that and although they wont find any fault with the service that they recieved, they will note that it was at the expense of the paying customers who are forking out their own hard earned money to dine there. I guess thats why a lot of food critics prefer their anonymity.
So its fair to say that Mr Lewis Smith and his partner recieved good service on Saturday (Im confidant the review if it appears would confirm that!!??) but so did everyone else on Saturday. After all thats what we do. And what a great return to the daily grind we had. Service went really smoothly despite the large table booked smack bang in the middle of service. No rest now until January 1st 2008!!