I’m not a food blogger. But I have visited scores of restaurants and taverns from Boston to Key West, Baltimore to Phoenix, for meals and drinks. I take pics of the meals my mate and me consume and submit reviews on our experiences on the 'net. I’ve always tried to be accurate and candid–for good or ill, on places I write about.
But just recently I’ve fallen into the Rabbit Hole that is the Food Blog world. I think I’ve read over a hundred restaurant blogs in the past month alone. I come away from reading these with the sense that I’m participating in something duplicitous. Based on my rough guage, I’ve read approximately 60, or so blogs that the writers admit were payment for a free meal. (No need to mention that all were glowing reviews). There are a few more blogs that mentioned being “invited” to menu “Seasonal Debuts” at upscale or posh venues.
So I have to ask here: Is it ethical for a food writer to file copy that gushes with delight, if they’ve been treated to a free of charge meal and beverages, by a restaurant?