Chef's Blog

Solage Calistoga's Executive Chef Brandon Sharp shares his passion for cooking, life and all things Napa Valley.

March 14, 2012

Staring up at seven straight days of rain forecasted for all of NV . . . at least the sweet peas will be happy, and the cows.  The sunny February was great for business on our patio but if the plants and animals don’t have any nourishment, we’ll run out of local food by Memorial Day.

The uproar–or tempest in a teacup, depending on your perspective–among West Coast food writers at the moment is whether or not they should assign stars (or, in the case of the Times-Picayune, beans) to accompany their reviews.  Two weeks ago, it was the backlash of chefs against no-account Yelpers, who can trash a restaurant, for any reason, and never have to answer for it.

A critique of my food will never be something I can accept in an objective, cold-blooded, detached frame of mind.  You are judging my worth, my essence, my career, the reason I put on these clogs and jacket every day, my ability to feed my kids.  It’s the application of heat, it’s dexterity with a knife.  It’s performance-driven, it’s immediately obvious, it’s instantly gratifying or repulsive.  And I asked for all of that.

And you know what else?  When you tell me it’s great, it’s amazing, it’s unique, it’s the best you’ve ever had, I’m such a wrinkled, leathery cuss that I can’t quite believe you . . . and when you don’t, I’m convinced you’re a fool.  Makes perfect sense, right?

2 Responses to “fifth column”

  1. Tim says:

    Great post, Chef! Yelp is for losers…. Aren’t chefs really like writers: this is my work, my novel/short story, and if you like it, great. If you don’t, well…

  2. Chris Gramly says:


    I can relate on many levels and loved reading this post, and others on your blog. I like your style, and well, I love your creations in the kitchen – believe it or not :)


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