Paris Food Critic Gets Taste of His Own Medicine

Feisty writer's meal was 'barely adequate,' complain diners
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2009 9:23 AM CST

(Newser) – Even by the standards of food-obsessed Paris, the exacting tastes of François Simon stand apart: The acerbic critic for the newspaper Le Figaro called one superstar chef "a clown" and "a fake peasant," and once described a meal as "a three-star crucifixion." But last month, Simon took a risk: he cooked for five nights at a busy bistro downtown. After bashing other chefs for 20 years, how did Simon measure up? "Barely adequate," reports the New York Times.

Simon is so notorious for his finicky tastes that he's presumed to be the model for Anton Ego, the unforgiving restaurant critic in the film Ratatouille. In an interview, Simon said that chefs have "become insufferable divas. They can't take the least criticism." But hope that observation doesn't apply to restaurant critics after one diner during Simon's stint in the kitchen dismissed his pastries with a stinging insult: "Those macaroons—they’re so hard they could choke a Christian."