Gael Greene, A Restaurant Critic Who Made Food Sound “Seductive,” Has Died At The Age Of 88
Gael Greene, a restaurant critic who made food sound “seduced”, has died at the age of 88.
Gael Greene was New York City’s most influential and interesting restaurant critic for 30 years. she died on Tuesday in Manhattan at the age of 88. Even for people who ate at home every night, reading about restaurants was fun because of her unique writing style, which mixed her love for food and other bodily pleasures in a natural way.
From 1957 to 1960, Greene worked as a reporter for the New York Post, where she sometimes did undercover work. After that, she worked for several magazines, but she didn’t really get going until 1968 when she became the restaurant critic for the brand-new New York Magazine. Her reviews ran there until 2002, and she continued to write for the magazine until 2008.
Her writing style made it clear that she liked both food and men. In the second group, there were a few famous chefs and Elvis Presley. She had a one-night stand with Presley, which she wrote about in her 2006 book “Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess.”
A harsh critic of Greene’s, an Italian chef, once said of her, “She mixes up the food and the bed too much.” But there was nothing careless about how she cooked. From local hot dogs to Vietnamese specialties, she knew more about food from around the world than anyone else her age.
She questioned what people thought about “legendary” restaurants. She made fun of old, snooty places like the 21 Club while praising the city’s restaurant scene as a whole and all of its fast-growing variety.
She didn’t like places that lived off of their reputations. The “famous sauce maison” of the old Colony was a very strong mix of bottled elixirs that was poured on anything that didn’t move.
In 1982, she wrote about Le Périgord, “Knowing mouths long ago abandoned this stodgy bourgeois perch to a loyal hanging-on of diplomats and styleless affluents, the eating-is-a-habit crowd, and a few softies” who were loyal to the restaurant’s owner.
Later, she went back to praise Antoine Bouterin, the new chef, saying that he “swept Le Périgord with the force of the mistral.” Greene’s praise and criticism helped people like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Pino Luongo, and Jonathan Waxman get ahead in New York. She didn’t have any airs about her, and we had a great time laughing together at a random bistro while she raved about a weird ice cream dessert.
Greene was one of the best writers of her time. When she wrote an essay in 2012 called “Letting Go” about the love of her life and her partner of 22 years, photographer Steven Richter, the jokes about her lusty memoirs stopped. Even after 10 years, it still makes me cry, as it should for anyone who reads it.
She found time in her busy life and career to work with James Beard to start Citymeals on Wheels. The group has brought millions of meals to the elderly who live alone in the city.
When Gael wore big hats pulled down low over her face and everyone had to call her “Donna,” her friends loved going out to try new restaurants with her. It was a joke about the fact that she wasn’t anonymous, which was a trick used by other critics who thought they weren’t known.
Her legacy will last longer than any trend or taste. And some nights, I swear I can still see her red beret float through the dining room, bringing laughter and happiness with it.
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