Did anyone catch Bravo's newest "reality" show Welcome to the Parker last week? The show mostly chronicles the hardships of spoiling Los Angeles rich kids on holiday at the Parker Palm Springs hotel, but after the premiere episode, foodies on the show's message board cried foul when an "international food critic" paid an altogether inauthentic visit to the hotel. TV writer Elaine Liner surveys the carnage:
Then there's an "international food critic" named Leslie McElroy who checks in with much fanfare to "review" the service and food at the Parker's various eating establishments. She and her sister-in-law chow on a $169 lunch, later order some room service hot dogs (which Leslie proclaims taste like sawdust) and then sit down in the Parker's dressy restaurant, Mr. Parker's, to plow through a $900 multi-course dinner."International food critic" McElroy announces her presence to the staff, sits down with hotel management afterwards to review, and then mentions that she just came from reviewing the French Laundry, because, you know, she needs some credibility on national TV. Who the hell is this woman?
Turns out, absolutely nobody. Her bio claims she's written restaurant reviews for Lemonade Magazine, worked as a pastry chef "in some of the finest restaurants in Orange County" (but doesn't name them), and hosts the food and travel internet radio show Girl About Town. There are plenty of food writers who accept comps for meals (it happens everywhere), but it's always the ones with the smallest credentials that take the biggest advantage of the freebies. She gives real food critics a bad name. She tells the OC Register that her decadent world-class travel is funded not by publications, but by her husband's frequent flier miles, and breezily claims that "every fine restaurant I go to feeds me tuna tartar and foie gras." Uh-huh. Just after she slides over her "international food critic" card, right? Our best guess: She's a bored OC housewife related to one of the show's producers. Bravo couldn't find anyone else to make it more "real?" Really? And just when they were winning us over with their food shows, too...
· Welcome to the Parker: Checking Out the Reality Factor [Elaine Liner Watches TV]
· Leslie McElroy travels the world for her weekly Internet radio show [OC Register]