Signed, Anonymous.

Abut a month ago, the New York Daily News hired a brand new restaurant critic with a gimmick: she's a food blogger and she's not anonymous. You can read here in the corporate fluff piece how she feels it's important for "readers to have someone to identify with" and how "her radar will be tuned to determine whether she's getting special treatment." A bit naive, in my opinion. A lot of people seem to agree.

You can read Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires for copious examples of how recognition can affect a dining experience - her Le Cirque review is a classic treatise on the subject - but the culture of dining critic anonymity isn't universal. At The Times of London, pics are posted with critics' bylines; no matter where you are, a Google image search can often turn up a pic or two of even the most circumspect reviewer. Here's my pic.

As always, I'll be dressing in drag, undergoing regular plastic surgery and faking my own death every few months, just to keep my mystery man image intact. Maybe image was the wrong word.

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