Top Chefs Review America’s Toughest Food Critics

Proper food safety and protection against illness begins at the grocery store, experts say.

Salmonella remained the top cause of foodborne illness last year, according to the CDC’s 2012 report card on food poisoning. However, the overall instance of Salmonella was unchanged from the 2006-08 data, the agency said. The report card is based on reports from 10 U.S. regions, representing about 15% of the country. The second most common cause of illness was Campylobacter , which increased 14% over the 2006-08 data, the CDC said. Campylobacter lives on live chickens and can taint meat during slaughter; it can also be found in raw, unpasteurized milk. No recall despite salmonella outbreak Food fraud on the rise Food safety during emergencies Fast-food workers fired over food safety Chicken and ground beef top a list of “risky meat” published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Researchers from this advocacy group examined data from foodborne illness outbreaks over a 12-year period and found between 1998 and 2010, meat and poultry products were linked to “at least 1,714 outbreaks involving 33,372 illnesses.” That estimate may only be the tip of the iceberg, the group said, as people may not seek medical attention for food poisoning and cases go unrecorded. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an online reporting tool for those who think they might have a foodborne illness. “We applaud CSPI’s ongoing efforts to educate consumers about food safety,” Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, the USDA’s undersecretary for food safety, said in a statement. “While we have made progress in making food safer — including cutting E. coli O157-related illnesses in half — we still have work to do.

An example of lunch items bought with Silva's food stamps.

To think that others might also consider me a strain on the system because I am on SNAP makes me even more stressed. View gallery . Bush’s typical meal: a $1 to $2 microwavable meal. On stamps for six years, Bush also receives Social Security disability because hes diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Every time I pull out that card to buy food and wait in line for the machine to process, I feel like I stand out as less than an equal. Less than I want to be. Like a failure and a loser, Bush says. I don’t want to be thought of this way. If I were able to, and it was up to me, I would not be in the system at all. This is not the way I envisioned my life From February 2001 to November 2004, Marie Green earned about $2,400 a month while caring for two kids, including an autistic son. After she lost her job in the medical field, she went on unemployment and now receives $367.40 a month to feed her and her daughter, 21-year-old Jo. (Her son, Quentin, 17, and her mother receive separate disability or retirement benefits.) Its difficult to make $367.40 last a month. Green, of Hawthorne, Calif., says they regularly run out of staples like bread, butter and milk, while they save enough to spread their cereal, eggs and meat to the end of the month. Everything else goes really quickly, says Green, 41, who frets that her familys nutrition suffers. But I worry most about their going hungry.

Brewer and state legislative leaders have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to approve funding for the Arizona park and other national parks. Brewer’s staff previously called Uberuaga and offered to find a way to pay to keep the park open, but he politely rejected the overture. “Some feel I can open the gate,” Uberuaga said. “I cannot open the gate. I will not open the gate.” St. Mary’s trucked the food boxes from Phoenix to the small community of Tusayan, a couple of miles from the South Rim entrance, and then to three locations inside the park for distribution this week. About 60 of the boxes were left at the fire department for local residents who couldn’t get inside the park. The food bank said it will continue weekly distributions as long as the shutdown lasts. A grocery store at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim Village is providing a 25 percent discount on food for residents, and concessionaires are supporting their furloughed employees and their families with subsidized rent and some meals, officials said. The Grand Canyon recently held an employee food drive and distributed the donations at a recreation center within the park. October is a busy time of year at the park because of the cool weather, with an average 18,000 tourists visiting each day.

Food bank helps furloughed Grand Canyon workers as business owners protest closure

Johnson who, incidentally, has described himself as the “best food critic in America and worldwide.” Chefs rated Jonathan Gold and Brad Johnson (respectively) as America’s smartest and dullest critics, gave Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue his due as having the best prose style, and identified The Houston Chronicle’s Alison Cook as having the worst. The most trusted critic was Jonathan Gold; the least trusted reviewer, Brad A. Johnson. As far as likeability we asked our panelists which critics they’d most like to sit down at a table with Jonathan Gold again took first place, while Tim Carman of The Washington Post brought up the rear. (Check out last years full report for more details, and chefs, ahem, pithy comments.) There have been some significant developments in the field this year. Pete Wells of the New York Times has cast his net wider, announcing that he’ll be reviewing restaurants outside of New York City (without assigning stars). GQs Alan Richman started filing weekly reviews, via the magazine’s website. Twenty-year New York City restaurant reviewing veteran Robert Sietsema was let go from the Village Voice (junior critic Tejal Rao resigned soon after), resurfacing with a non-review column on the food blog Eater. Texas Monthly made history by hiring Daniel Vaughn to be the only full-time barbecue critic on the staff of a major publication. Longtime Houston food writer Robb Walsh fully settled into non-anonymous reviewing as Houstonias restaurant critic. And a year after firing Brett Anderson, The Times-Picayune rehired its widely-respected reviewer in September after he completed a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Accordingly, there were a few changes to this years scorecard lineup. We dropped Robert Sietsema from the line up and added Daniel Vaughn and the New York Posts Steve Cuozzo. And Craig Laban, who has been reviewing restaurants for The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1998, also joined the party.