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Tilted Grill – Blogger Bashing

Its time to call a spade a spade. Food bloggers have way to much power and not enough common sense. Period.

It just so happens that my office sits next to the top restaurant realtor in the city. He said to me long ago when Jen and I started this blog, “Be careful what you post, it takes no more than three bad reviews to destroy a restaurant, and as a result somebody’s livelihood.”

We took that comment to heart and made a commitment to never write a bad word about a restaurant – if we don’t like it, we simply don’t write about it. That is why it is so hard to watch food bloggers bash restaurants and soil their names without even so much as a second thought. Quite frankly, we think it is classless.

Take for example the infamous ChowTown bashing of Kinjo, where a self proclaimed sushi expert bashes one of the city’s most successful sushi restaurants because the sushi is frozen and not fresh. I lit him up for a few comments, because quite frankly, he doesn’t know shit about how sushi is shipped and stored on its way to land locked Calgary. He berates Kinjo for poor quality while praising others who serve the exact same fish from the exact same suppliers.

So what is the difference between us bashing him and him bashing Kinjo? He doesn’t make his living from what he writes, but he sure as well affects Peter’s, who by the the way nearly everyone (and their children) loves.

What does this have to do with Tilted Grill? Well, a while back Tilted invited a bunch of food bloggers to sample their food truck inspired menu. (We were not invited, but we would much rather pay and go unnoticed as we usually do anyways). What happened at this preview was disgraceful. Three food bloggers A bunch of food bloggers came to the restaurant, ate for free, and one then wrote a sub par reviews of the brand new restaurant. While only one blogged about her experience, they all participated in picking apart the restaurants food rather than celebrating the fact that a new concept had been born in Calgary They failed to mention that the menu items were in the test phases, and it was a privilege for them to be there, not a foodie god given right.

In the comments section I have stated numerous times that anyone can pick apart a restaurant, a great food blogger will appreciate a restaurants story and what is unique, not pick on the low lying fruit that presents itself for criticism.

To Clarify, this article is about food blogger responsibility. It is one thing to have free speech, it is another to speak freely in a way that negatively impacts others.

So let us clear the air. Tilted is a street food inspired restaurant designed around Tilted authenticity. They don’t serve the kind of food you would typically get at a restaurant, they serve down and dirty indulgences that are wild in their flavor, and reasonable in their prices. They serve authentic tasting dishes that replicate flavors found in Asia, Mexico, and some of the bigger American cities. Flavors you would find at a typical food cart. And the food is damn good!

Some notable menu items include Gogi Sliders, Mexi-Steak Cheese Fries, Grilled Calamari Tacos, Peking Cracklin’ Chicken or a Cali Burger. Or try some dessert – Joe’s Ice Cream Sandwich – Vanilla ice cream pressed between homemade chocolate chip cookies, rolled in chocolate chips, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with candied pecans. Check out their complete menu here.

We highly suggest you try it for yourself. Then, check out the following posts, and tell us whether you think these bloggers were bang on or way out of line.

Please note – only one of these bloggers was at the event, but all have written reviews that could potentially impact the success of this restaurant. It is our view that these reviews are unwarranted (see the Ketchup Conundrum comment in the comments section).

Chocolate and Ginger
A Picky Eater
Not A Food Blog

Happy eating,


Tilted Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. Really? Come on Nolan do you think over the top statements are what your readers want?

    “bashes one of the city’s most successful sushi restaurants because the sushi is frozen and not fresh”

    Please direct me to the point in my review where I do this. It seems you misunderstood something I wrote.

    And no, I’m not an expert on sushi. Never claimed to be anywhere on my blog.

    Dude, we need to get together. We both love food and enjoy writing about it. Come on. I know you have more class than this article shows. My treat.

  2. “(We were not invited, but we would much rather pay and go unnoticed as we usually do anyways).”
    – How big of you

    “it was a privilege for them to be there, not a foodie god given right.”
    – Yes it is a privilege for them to be there, and whether the food was good or bad, I’m sure they were flattered to be invited. It is also their privilege, upon being invite to “test” the food, to submit their opinions of it. News flash: That’s what food bloggers do.

    “They don’t serve the kind of food you would typically get at a restaurant”
    – A unique a new spin on cuisine?!?! What a concept (sarcasm). You don’t think food bloggers have enough experience to take this into account. I somehow can’t image Titled Grill being THAT off the beaten track that the bloggers (some pretty respected and well known) wouldn’t understand the style of food or be open to something different.

    “menu items include Gogi Sliders, Mexi-Steak Cheese Fries, Grilled Calamari Tacos, Peking Cracklin’ Chicken or a Cali Burger.”
    – Umm, thank you for listing some of their menu items. This doesn’t help me. That’s why I read food blogs. Were the Gogi Sliders tasty or bland? Did the Cali Burger come with good sides?

    A bad review can hurt a restaurant. A bad review can also make a restaurant better if they take into account comments and adjust. I’ve also not read a review that was so bad that I wouldn’t go. Most people have pretty general comments and some good, some bad experiences. If a place gets 90% bad reviews, I’m not going to go, and the restaurant is probably terrible. And that’s when I think, thanks to that food blogger that ate that crap–now I don’t have to.

  3. I like your policy on bad reviews. Why slander a chef or destroy a menu if it’s really not necessary. I’m pretty sure people go to food blogs to find out what is good, not encourage bloggers to hold grudges and rip restaurants.

    Bitter responses in the comments further propagate the hate. Food reviewers should work together. Our eloquence and opinions should be a guiding beacon of light, illuminating the best a city has to offer. Bloggers can’t make a restaurant better or worse; to think a trained chef would change their menu because of a blogger on the internet is preposterous. But we can encourage people to go to places to maximize their enjoyment as they satiate their palates.

    Good article. Keep eating.

  4. This classless and profane post is making me second guess your abilities to objectively review anything. I’ve recommended Calgary Foodies to lots of my foodie friends. Don’t make me regret singing your praises by posting stuff like this with “holier than thou” and, (as RuneRider said) over-the-top statements.

    If someone’s livelihood is based on something they’re not good at, I don’t want to have a pity party and spend my hard-earned money there. If I’m bad at my job, I get fired. This post is way out of line.

  5. i write a food blog as well, but only do resto “reviews” once in a while as I am not a published writer. I have a good palate and know my food and I know quite a bit about the industry, but not enough to be a chef in any one place. I have a decent following from around the world, and when I do a review, I want the readers to want to come to Calgary (and a lot do from all over) and experience the good side of things here. I don’t want them to take a bad review of a place (which I don’t do, because I want to go back there without being shit on) and think our fine city is full of know-it-alls (who really don’t know that much) and crappy places to eat. I choose to talk about the positive side and not dwell on the negative. If I have an issue, I bring it up with the server, see how it is handled and move on from there. If it was a bad experience, I tell them right then and there. I think they have the right to know that from their clientele face-to-face. On the other side of the coin, I do agree with roasting some of these guys in print as it’s the only way some people who run these joints can get it through their heads about some of their issues they have to work on. Certain people’s egos are bigger than their common sense element and won’t listen to constructive criticism or a real issue of a person who may or may not come back and drop a couple of hundred bucks. I haven’t done this nor will I ever, but then again, I’m not a know-it-all blogger who puts my reputation as a blogger (not as an actual journalist) ahead of other peoples livelihood.

  6. For those making the argument that it is important for a food blogger to give both positive and negative feedback on a restaurants food, here is an article that you should read. It supports the idea that there is no perfect flavor profile, because individuals prefer different levels and types of flavors. In other words, what is bland to a food blogger may not be bland to others. Thus, how can you comment negatively on a restaurants food (unless it is over or undercooked or rotten) when your audience will obviously have different flavor preferences then you.


  7. Although I agree that flavours perceived by every individual is different. Bad service, soggy food, cold food that should be hot and sub par quality ingredients are not. All of which I contribute to the dining experience and have encountered myself at restaurants.

  8. Agreed, all of which do contribute to the dining experience, but are also all subjective and situational.

  9. well this debate just got dull now that the author seems to be agreeing with everyone. sigh. i think i’ll just pay and leave unnoticed.

  10. Let me clarify – “Agreed, all of which do contribute to the dining experience, but are also all subjective and situational.” Which is why a negative review is so irresponsible.

  11. A somewhat ironic blog post title… Are you discussing the bashing of restaurants by bloggers or the bashing of bloggers by bloggers?

    Someone wise once (Nathan) said:
    “Freedom of speech is an important part of our society, however so was our mother’s advice with respect to those occasions when we have nothing nice to say.”

    A moment of suggested self-reflection: if restaurant bashing isn’t okay, why would specific blogger bashing? Why is impact to income generation the sole arbiter of the appropriateness of bashing?

  12. Ack! Sorry Nolan for getting your name wrong. Not operating on all cylinders today.

    Feel free to edit the post… I have no horse in this race.

  13. Hi Jasen,

    Good point. We thought long and hard about this very question prior to publishing, and in fact moved the post back almost a week to give us more time to consider the question you just asked.

    Without getting into a philosophical debate I have a simple answer that I feel is somewhat justified.

    There is a difference between critiquing someone who did not request the criticism, and critiquing a critic. We believe the act of criticizing a restaurant opens your criticism up to criticism.

    We fully expected to get some kickback and some criticism for the shots we took at other bloggers, however we also feel that this was the most effective way to insight change in the foodie community.

    Best regards,


  14. Please see above.

  15. I’m a big believer in free speech. Great bloggers post uncensored opinions with honesty and candour and don’t pander to restaurants. Great readers should be critical enough to make up their own minds, based on the evidence presented. One blogger’s mandate might be to celebrate the city’s restaurants; another’s might be to be frank and uncensored. Either way, that diversity of voices is important.

    Any smart restauranteur would treat honest feedback, be it positive or negative, as an opportunity to make adjustments if they are deemed necessary, after all. If I were a business owner, I’d want to hear what people were really thinking. Glowing reviews don’t help any business improve. Nor does silence.

    And for the record, I was present at the Tilted Grill opening and agree with what was posted on Ceci N’est Pas Un Food Blog. Whether or not you have paid for a meal should have no bearing on what your taste buds taste. I am hopeful that Tilted Grill has tweaked their recipes and I look forward to returning there.

  16. I’m a big believer in free speech as well. However I am also a big believer in not speeking freely in a way that negatively impacts slandering someone, or a restaurant, just because you have the right to talk (or blog).

    There was a bigger and better story with respect to Tilted grill, and that was the effort to bring street food to Calgary. Just because you have the medium to pick apart a restaurant doesn’t mean you should.

  17. None of what those bloggers wrote can be considered any more libellous than what you have said here about the food bloggers. Can YOU prove that these people lied about their experiences? Can THEY prove that you’re not trying to defame them?

    Anyhow, it seems like the owner of Tilted Grill has taken the high road. I suggest we all do the same.

  18. The difference, as i have said before, is I am critiquing a critic. I disagree with the premise that just because you can stick up a website and call yourself a food blogger, gives you the right to pick apart someones food. That is the point, plan and simple. The ability to publish comes with responsibility.

  19. We have closed this post to comments as it appears a few individuals don’t want to play fair. We have received an onslaught of comments from two ip addresses, the same individuals using multiple names to make a case. As Tim Ferriss says “Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff.”

    The feedback from the foodie community for the most part has been to do the right thing, which means if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. That said, we think Titled deserved to have a third party critique the critics. Our comments stand.

    If you want to know the truth, negative bloggers have nearly ruined it for all of us. If you go anywhere near a restaurant, with a camera, that has been negatively reviewed these day, you nearly get run out. Negative reviews are wrecking this game for all of us, and like it or not, bloggers do have a responsibility not to publish subjective negative opinions. We hope they will stop, but we aren’t holding our breaths.

    Like I said before, just because you have the right to say it doesn’t mean you should.

    As for Tilted, the food there is great, they have an amazing concept, and we hope you give them a try.

    Happy eating,